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Jackson Lab building year-round employee housing in Bar Harbor

Jax currently has three-hundred positions available at both its Ellsworth and Bar Harbor...
Jax currently has three-hundred positions available at both its Ellsworth and Bar Harbor campuses, but like many organizations in Maine, they’ve had to deal with losing qualified candidates due to lack of housing.(Bryan Sidelinger)
Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 6:22 PM EDT
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BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - Local and state officials as well as local leaders from MDI visited the site of the Jackson Lab’s future housing development in Bar Harbor Thursday.

Jax currently has three-hundred positions available at both its Ellsworth and Bar Harbor campuses, but like many organizations in Maine, they’ve had to deal with losing qualified candidates due to lack of housing.

By September, they will have built at least the start of a solution to the problem according to Catherine Longley, Jackson Lab’s Executive Vice President & COO.

“It’s been a discussion for about twenty years, so to actually break ground and see twenty-four initial units going up is super exciting for our community, especially with the availability or lack of availability of year round housing on MDI.”

The new ‘Woodlands Lane Apartments’ will meet a crucial need for Jackson Lab employees.

“In my office alone, I just hired someone, and she can’t find anything that will go beyond June,” Longley said. “So, get a winter rental from November 1 to June 1, but then what happens? So, these will be year round, and people can stay as long as they want.”

Once completed, the twenty-four unit apartment complex will create a residential community of individuals, couples, and small families.

“There there’s a mixture of one, two, and three bedroom units,” said Longley. “So, we’ll invite families as well as single individuals that are working at the lab.”

“This is going to be attractive,” added State Representative Lynne Williams of District 135. “It’s going to be working people from this community who will contribute to our community who go downtown. Any neighbors should be proud to have this in their neighborhood.”

Jackson Lab says it may expand to as many as one hundred units in the future.

The state will be keeping a close eye on Woodlands Lane Apartments to see what lessons can be learned for future projects with regard to affordable housing for Maine’s workforce.

“One of the things we’re always interested in is how quickly do they show up?” offered Greg Payne, the Senior Housing Advisor of the Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation and the Future. “What’s the experience people have after they move in? You know, how does that affect the next project we build? Does it say something about, you know, demand at large and how many more units we need to build. You know, all those things are things we would love to hear once this particular project is completed and people are moving in and can call it their home.”

Jackson Lab expects to have employees moving in by early September, and will be taking applications after January 1st for the almost three hundred positions it has available.

For more information, visit jax.org.

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