Cook’s Corner is showing new signs of life as Brunswick battles a decade-long economic crisis in the region.
The eastern Brunswick region, dotted with linear malls, big box stores and small businesses, will soon be home to a Martin’s Point health care facility and the town’s second Hannaford supermarket.
At nearby Brunswick Landing, site of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, IT company Vivid Cloud is constructing an office building and a municipal recreation complex is being planned next to the recreation center on Neptune Avenue.
Brunswick Economic Development Director Sally Costello said the city must work to compensate for the “divestment” in the Cook’s Corner area that has occurred in the past decade since the naval base closed.
A new advisory committee will soon conduct market and traffic studies in the region and work to prioritize the needs of the region, she said. The committee also plans to hold a number of meetings with residents to give them feedback on how to improve Cook’s Corner.
The Hannaford store, slated to open at Cook’s Corner Mall in late summer, is already helping fill empty windows.
Best Thai Express is scheduled to open in mid-July at 216 Bath Road. “We chose this area because of all the upcoming developments,” said Job Hanjitsuwan, whose family also owns Best Thai in Damariscotta and Better Thai 2 in Bath. “It’s a place we want to be.”
The new nearby Hannaford store will help bring customers to the take-out and casual dining restaurant, which was inspired by the increase in take-out sales at the other two top Thai locations, Hanjitsuwan said.
Costello said business investment in the neighborhood has been on the decline for more than a decade, “in part due to aging infrastructure and outdated shopping center offerings.” In addition, the redevelopment of the base at Brunswick Landing did not lead to as much commercial activity as had been hoped.
“In order to support and encourage the sustainable economic development of Cook’s Corner, the city must work with the private sector, our residential communities, landowners and institutional actors, to prepare sites for improvement by working through of public-private partnerships, ”says Costello.
Public investments to stimulate private investment could include traffic calming measures, improved sidewalks in areas lacking accessibility, traffic lights and even the addition of roads to manage traffic that will come with projects. such as the 53,000 square foot installation of Martin’s Point which is expected to be completed this summer.
Such improvements must be approved by the city council. Much of the cost could be covered by tax revenue generated by projects in the region and potentially by state and federal grants, Costello said.
“We want Cookay Corner to have a sense of belonging, so we want to take a data-driven approach, and we need the private sector, residents and the public sector to come together, ”said Costello.
Hanjitsuwan sees his family’s business growing alongside local development.
“We are excited to get to know the community and hope people will come and try our classic Thai cuisine,” he said.
People & Business: May 26