A conceptual drawing of the view from the road of the Schooner Head Housing Project, a new subdivision on land owned by The Jackson Laboratory to be developed and managed by Brunswick-based firm Developers Collaborative. IMAGE COURTESY OF TOWN OF BAR HARBOR

JAX, with partner, to build 44 apartments

BAR HARBOR — A new residential subdivision with 44 apartments near The Jackson Laboratory campus is in the planning stages. The Schooner Head Housing Project will include 44 apartments in five buildings on a 37-acre lot owned by the nonprofit biomedical research institution.

“The apartments will be available as long-term rentals for (laboratory) employees only,” laboratory Chief Operating Officer Catherine Longley said. The subdivision is a collaboration with Brunswick-based Developers Collaborative. That company will lease the land from the nonprofit and own, maintain and manage the building units. It will also pay taxes on the property.

Employee housing has been a focus for Longley since she stepped into her current role in 2018, following the retirement of Charles Hewitt. The creation of additional year-round housing addresses a critical issue for both the laboratory and the community, she said.

Developers Collaborative founder Kevin Bunker spoke at a housing symposium organized by Island Housing Trust in 2017. The company was also involved with the new Oriole Way complex in Ellsworth, which grew out of a housing study conducted by the city.

Representatives of the laboratory and Developers Collaborative met with abutting property owners and others in late January to discuss the project. The Planning Board was scheduled to review the initial sketch plan this week and conduct a site visit soon.

“The first phase of the project is expected to be completed during the summer of 2021,” lab representatives said in a statement. “Phase one includes 44 units, with the long-term goal of 2 additional phases totaling 100 units” on the same lot.

In 2015, laboratory Facilities Director John Fitzpatrick, who is also a member of the Planning Board, presented a 10-year building plan for the institution’s Bar Harbor campus to the Planning Board.

The goals of that plan, he said, were to accommodate growth in the organization’s research and education programs and provide more housing for researchers and employees while avoiding any negative impacts to the town or to Acadia National Park.

As the laboratory expands, he said, officials hope to “keep everything compact rather than building out like a spider.”



Liz Graves

Liz Graves

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander reporter and editor Liz Graves grew up in California and came to Maine as a schooner sailor.

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