Realtors tour new Eastern Shore Incubator facility

MD-Realtors tour ESIC facility_3x EDD

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Celebrating in the lobby of the new Eastern Shore Innovation Center are Susan Banks, DCED Business Development Manager, Steve Dolbow, ESIC Manager, and Keasha Haythe, DCED Director, with Debbie Wilkens of the Mid-Shore Board of Realtors.

CAMBRIDGE – Members of the Mid-Shore Board of REALTORS® (MSBR) toured the newly-opened Eastern Shore Innovation Center in Cambridge this week. Hosting the realtor tour were Keasha Haythe CEcD, director of the Dorchester Economic Development Center; Susan Banks, DCED business development manager; and Steve Dolbow, manager of the Eastern Shore Innovation Center (ESIC).

The ESIC, also known as a business “incubator,” is designed to attract and provide small startup businesses with a new state of the art facility where they can grow their business. The end goal is that these startups will outgrow the space in two years or so, and need to find more room and bring more employees to the area.

“This is an exciting opportunity for bringing businesses to the community,” said Debbie Wilkens, executive director of MSBR. “This has the potential to bring businesses here, business people bring their families here to live. This is a full circle to be completed here.”

“That’s right,” agreed Director Haythe. “I believe that the Center will definitely generate interest from companies to purchase a lot in the Tech Park, and continue to grow right here in Dorchester County. This building was instrumental in being the first phase of the Tech Park growth. The Incubator is necessary in order to generate interest in the Tech Park. This building will spur economic growth for new businesses and business expansion. Also, I’m just so excited that Dorchester County can have the first purpose-built incubator on the Eastern Shore.”

During a luncheon, Ms. Haythe discussed how the concept for the ESIC began, and now 10 years later the building is completed and businesses are moving into the facility this month. Ms. Banks informed the REALTORS of the lots available for sale surrounding the center. The lots range in size from 2.3 to 5 acres, can be divided and the cost of lot acreage starts at $65,000 per acre. Both Ms. Haythe and Ms. Banks talked about the various business incentives available to these new companies, such as the Job Creation Tax Credits, One Maryland Incentives, and a federal HUDZone, to name a few.

The ESIC is outfitted with individual wireless internet, conference rooms with dry erase walls, and has built in a partnership with local groups to provide business support and seminars to ESIC tenants, said Mr. Dolbow. With the participation of experienced entrepreneurs, like those from SCORE or the Small Business Development Center, these new business owners have seasoned mentors available, noted Mr. Dolbow.

The MSBR realtors were the first group to tour the facility and were impressed with the professional and thoughtful use of the common spaces and offices. The conference rooms can be enlarged, feature walls that can be written on, and open space areas for individuals to come and share ideas. A large undeveloped 3200 square foot space for a manufacturing company is another prime opportunity, noted Dawn Shorter, a MSBR director.

When asked how she felt now that the Incubator project was finally done, Director Haythe said, “I’m elated! I’m excited! I’m grateful that it came to fruition. It was a lot of hard work, it was a lot of perseverance, but we did it. We had three County Councilmen who saw that this was a forward-thinking approach, and I am so grateful to Councilmen Satterfield, Councilman Travers, and Councilman Nichols for not having a myopic view of this project.”

When asked if there has been any interest shown by potential new occupants of the Tech Park, Ms. Haythe replied, “We have. We’ve had some interest in lot purchases, and I do believe that we have two companies that are in the incubator that are going to grow like gangbusters and purchase a lot in the park. That was part of our goal, part of the vision — to have companies in the incubator grow and expand, and purchase a lot in the park.”

Starting price for Tech Park lots are $65,000 per acre, with the price negotiable “depending on capital investment and job creation,” according to Director Haythe.

MD-Realtors tour ESIC facility_3x group

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Realtors tour the new ESIC facility on Bucktown Road in Cambridge.

The Mid-Shore Board of REALTORS® is comprised of over 500 realtors and affiliate members from Caroline, Dorchester and Talbot counties. Its mission is to serve its membership and the community by developing and delivering programs, products and services that elevate the standards of the real estate profession and through collective efforts, promote the preservation of the right to own, transfer and use real property. The Mid-Shore Board of REALTORS® is located at 8615 Commerce Drive, in Easton.

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