An Australian shipbuilding, design and maintenance company with US military contracts recently paid $4.6 million for two marina properties along the Connecticut River in Portland.
Birdon Property LLC purchased the real estate assets of Portland Riverview Marina and Yankee Boatyard and Marina in concurrent sales recorded April 7. The LLC shares an address in Denver, Colorado with the Birdon Group’s US headquarters. The director of the LLC is Birdon Group CEO Jamie Bruce.
“They plan to continue to run the marinas and also have a contract with the Coast Guard to refurbish the cutters over the next eight years,” Portland first coach Ryan J. Curley said. “We’re thrilled to have them in Portland.”
Curley said he toured the marinas with representatives from Birdon about two weeks ago. Attempts by the Hartford Business Journal to reach a spokesperson for Birdon were not immediately successful.
Yankee Shipyard and Marina
The purchase of the properties adjacent to the Portland Marina gives Birdon 31 acres along the Connecticut River, along with associated warehouses, garages, docks and other facilities.
“They have big plans,” Curley said. “They’re looking to expand the marinas, I think.”
Curley said Birdon’s representatives told him they would retain existing marina staff and hire about 14 more this year.
Birdon currently has 13 job openings for Portland on its website, including listings for engineers, warehouse personnel, assemblers, welding inspectors, marine electricians, marine mechanics, of marina construction worker and warehouse manager.
Founded in 1977 in New South Wales, Australia, Birdon is a family-owned company with subsidiaries serving both the recreational and military marine sectors. Birdon expanded into the United States in 2009, where it has four main business divisions: shipbuilding and repair; disposals; marine engineering and propulsion.
In August 2019, Birdon announced that he had been awarded contracts with the United States Army and United States Coast Guard worth up to $390 million.
According to the 2019 announcement, a 10-year contract worth up to $191 million would see Birdon modernize the U.S. Coast Guard’s fleet of 47-foot motor lifeboats. A second prize, worth up to $199 million, extended Birdon’s contract with the U.S. military to supply bridge-building boats for another five years.
As part of the Coast Guard’s “life extension” program, the Coast Guard appointed Birdon American to redesign and modernize its aging fleet of 117 motor lifeboats, according to Birdon’s announcement in 2019. The boats were coming to the end of their 25-year lifespan. The contract with Birdon was to improve the performance of the boat and add another 20 years to their service. That work was to be done at shipyards in Oregon and Virginia, according to the 2019 announcement.
In January, Birdon announced that subsidiary NAMJet – also located in Denver – had completed 34 water jet propulsion units for amphibious troop landers for the Turkish Naval Forces Command. In March, Birdon announced a $17.8 million contract with the US Navy to remove scrap metal and waste from a base in Diego Garcia, an island in Britain’s Indian Ocean Territory.
Curley said the company has been considering Portland for “a few months now” and his arrival would be a boon to the local economy. Curley expects the company to expand to Portland beyond the current Coast Guard contract.
“They’re already making plans for once the contract is over,” Curley said. “We hope to have them here for many years to come.”