The developer plans to add 750 apartments to the former Loring base

LIMESTONE, Maine — A company redeveloping part of the former Loring Air Force Base plans to add at least 750 new apartments to accompany the first major work on the site in years.

Portland-based Green 4 Maine LLC purchased 450 acres of the Loring Mall earlier this year, hoping to revitalize the industrial and commercial park for the modern era. The Green 4 Maine project was launched shortly after DG Fuels, a Washington, D.C., startup, announced plans to build a $4.4 billion sustainable aviation fuel facility.

DG Fuels plans to create 2,300 jobs during construction and 650 permanent jobs after the facility opens.

To accommodate construction workers and attract participants in future projects, Green 4 Maine will renovate 1950s-era apartment buildings and dormitories that once housed Air Force members and their families, according to the company’s president. The 750 units planned for the ambitious project, one of Maine’s largest housing proposals, would equal nearly half of Limestone’s total population.

Green 4 Maine President Scott Hinkle said he and his colleagues primarily want to create one-bedroom units designed for contractors and their employees working on the base temporarily.

Hinkel said Green 4 Maine is still working to determine exact renovation costs and will know more once a construction company is secured later this fall.

Ideally, renovations would begin in early 2024, with at least 150 units completed before DG Fuels begins sending construction workers to their site in Loring, Hinkle said. It will likely take a year and a half to renovate all 750 units.

The planned renovations come as Green 4 Maine begins signing major deals with other startups, including an artificial intelligence research center and a space company looking to launch its own “spaceplane.” More companies means more renovation projects that will need workers, Hinkle said.

“(The residential units) will vary in size but will range from about 300 to 500 square feet,” Hinkle said. “We want to provide a comfortable home base away from home.”

Currently, DG Fuels leases its 1,240-acre property from the Loring Development Authority, which has owned and operated the former base since its closure in 1994. The facility will produce sustainable aviation fuel using woody biomass converted from forests and plantations.

The project could revive inactive rail lines between Limestone and Presque Isle, which DG Fuels will use to transport biomass to its facilities. The finished product will be shipped via an underground pipeline from Loring to Searsport.

DG Fuels plans to begin construction in late 2024 and hopefully finish in late 2028, CEO Michael D’Arcy said.

The company has hired Kansas City, Missouri-based engineering firm Black & Veatch to oversee construction at Loring and another DG Fuels facility being built near New Orleans. Black & Veatch will provide housing trailers for the workers while Green 4 Maine continues to renovate the apartments, Darcy said.

Although Green 4 Maine does not own the land on which DG Fuels will be located, Green 4 Maine hopes to purchase that property within the next year to advance its mission to redevelop Loring, Hinkle said.

For this reason, DG Fuels has already discussed with Green 4 Maine how to reach out to local communities and potential employees before the facility is completed.

“Green 4 Maine has been a good partner and we are happy to work with them,” Darcy said. “Northern Maine is set to become a real player in renewable energies, and that’s what Green 4 Maine wants to do.”

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