AUBURN – Easy access to the turnpike, an intermodal hub (where trucks and trains load and unload freight), the airport and the waiting-in-the-wings Foreign Trade Zone were incentive enough for the area’s newest commercial park.

Plans for Kittyhawk Business Park, a 30-acre triangle off Kittyhawk Drive, are set for a July 8 review by the Planning Board. Joseph Casalinova, president of Building Solutions, is partnering with the Hartt family to develop the park into a logistics and distribution center.

“A lot of out-of-state companies are looking to relocate in the general area of the airport and intermodal facility, so this is good geographic access for transportation services,” said Casalinova. Among those he’s spoken with: General Mills, including its Pillsbury, Betty Crocker subsidiaries.

An added benefit to those companies that ship, manufacture or package products is the Foreign Trade Zone, a designation Auburn won in 2004 from the federal government. The zone is considered outside U.S. Customs, which means goods that pass through it are exempt from certain duty taxes.

“It provides the ability for relatively easy importing and exporting,” he said of the zone, which is centered around the Auburn-Lewiston Intermodal Transfer Facility.

The location also seems attractive for another kind of development: Casalinova said he’s been approached by a couple of hotels looking to locate near the turnpike.

“Families who are traveling don’t have a place to stay directly on the highway,” except for some older motels, he said.

For now, the plans for the park show a six-lot subdivision with parcels ranging from 8.6 acres to 3.2 acres. In 2007, the Planning Board approved plans for Hartt Transportation, which owns the property, to park tractor-trailers there. The Bangor-based company has a facility on Hotel Road as well.

Casalinova said the time seemed right to go forward with the business park plan because of the interest generated by companies trying to reduce their transportation costs as gas and diesel prices skyrocket.

For instance, some of the agribusinesses he’s spoken with are exploring whether it saves money to ship their product in bulk via rail to a packaging and distribution facility in Auburn, then transport the finished goods to markets throughout New England or even overseas.

“We see this as having the potential to provide quite a bit of new employment for the area,” said Casalinova. “Job creation and economic growth are a key part of what we do.”

Building Solutions, which is based in Oxford, was awarded an economic achievement award in May from the city of Auburn at the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council annual dinner. It performs planning, permitting, design, engineering, construction and other services to clients. It recently completed projects for World Harbors, Western Maine Transportation and Toddle Inn.

Roland Miller, the city’s economic development chief, said he’s very encouraged by the project.

“Mr. Casalinova has been a real proponent of this area,” said Miller, citing some of Building Solutions’ local projects. “He’s been looking for opportunities to pursue.”

He added that he hopes he’ll be able to direct some potential tenants for the park to Casalinova.

“We’ll work hard to market this property,” he said.

Paul Badeau, the growth council’s marketing director, is similarly enthused. The LAEGC has been trying to find clients that would use the FTZ since its designation four years ago. Several companies have looked at the zone and crunched the numbers, but none have pursued a formal agreement.

“It’s good to hear,” said Badeau of Casalinova’s plans. “This is what we hoped would happen. There’s no question that we have world-class resources to build a distribution and logistics industry.”

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