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3/20/2014 3:31:00 PM
Hodgdon Shipbuilding Dedicates Damariscotta Facility
Hodgdon Shipbuilding LLC President and CEO Timothy Hodgdon speaks at a ceremony dedicating the new Hodgdon Custom Tenders facility in Damariscotta March 20. (J.W. Oliver photo)
Hodgdon Shipbuilding LLC President and CEO Timothy Hodgdon speaks at a ceremony dedicating the new Hodgdon Custom Tenders facility in Damariscotta March 20. (J.W. Oliver photo)
J.W. Oliver

A new facility in Damariscotta could represent the start of a new era of shipbuilding in a town where it was once a thriving industry.

Hodgdon Shipbuilding LLC dedicated the new Damariscotta headquarters of its Hodgdon Custom Tenders division with a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 20.

A century ago, there were two dozen shipyards around Damariscotta and Great Salt Bay, Damariscotta Town Manager Matt Lutkus said at the event.

"It was a bustling industry," Lutkus said. "I see this as another era following the same theme."

Hodgdon Shipbuilding President and CEO Timothy Hodgdon said the opening of the facility marks a "tremendous milestone" for the company.

"We could not be more pleased, enthusiastic and committed to this new endeavor of expanding the custom tenders division of Hodgdon Shipbuilding to this community and to this well-suited facility," Hodgdon said. "We intend to expand this business and create skillful jobs at this location."

"Five years ago, we recognized a new direction for our company to build high-end custom and semicustom tenders, including our unique Limousine Tenders, to service the global mega-yacht industry," Hodgdon said.

Large yachts carry tenders, or auxiliary boats, to ferry passengers to and from the main ship. Hodgdon specializes in 27- to 39-foot tenders for 250- to 300-foot yachts.

The Damariscotta facility has a 37-foot and a 39-foot tender under construction.

The price of the tenders varies greatly due to the ability to customize the boats. The popular Limousine Tender has a base price of $1.7 million.

"Hodgdon Custom Tenders is solidly positioned to develop a significant expansion here, and we intend to do just that," Hodgdon said.

The company plans to market its products from a new sales office in the tiny country of Monaco, a popular yachting destination on the Mediterranean Sea.

The success of Hodgdon Shipbuilding has "outstripped" its main campus in East Boothbay, where "all of our buildings are currently crammed with work," Hodgdon said.

Damariscotta operations "are an expansion and growth opportunity for our already existing company," Hodgdon said. "We have increased our workforce in East Boothbay to undertake new projects there, and we intend to keep our headquarters in East Boothbay, where we have been for nearly 200 years."

"We are extremely enthusiastic about what we have going on here in Damariscotta, and we look forward to growing this business as aggressively as possible," Hodgdon said.

Lutkus, the town manager, delivered a "hearty welcome" to the company.

"It is such a thrill for us to have you here, using this prime commercial space and providing the opportunity for some great jobs for our community," Lutkus said.

The facility employs about 15 people and about half of those positions are new to the company, Hodgdon Yachts Director of Human Resources Neal Williamson said.

The business currently needs two or three experienced boat-builders and anticipates more hiring as the business grows, Williamson said.

Hodgdon Custom Tenders occupies a 21,500-square-foot building at 6 Angell Lane. The 7-acre property abuts Route 1 near the Damariscotta-Nobleboro line.

The building was a machine shop and warehouse for Meyer Products LLC, a manufacturer of plows and sanders. Damariscotta North LLC owns the property. Hodgdon Shipbuilding LLC will lease the property.

Hodgdon Shipbuilding LLC operates Hodgdon Yachts Inc. and three other divisions: Hodgdon Custom Tenders, Hodgdon Defense Composites and Hodgdon Fine Interiors.

The company has more than 55,000 square feet of construction and office space at its main facility at 14 School St. in East Boothbay, according to its website. The interiors division has a facility at 150 Main St. in Richmond.

The company is also in the process of acquiring Boothbay Region Boatyard Inc., with locations in Boothbay Harbor and Southport. The company plans to complete the merger in mid-April.

Boothbay Region Boatyard, at 100 Ebenecook Road in Southport, provides maintenance and repair for vessels ranging from motorboats to yachts up to 80 feet.

The acquisition will also include the Wotton's Wharf facility, at 85 McFarland Point Drive in Boothbay Harbor.

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