Thursday, December 5, 2013
By Randy Billings firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUTH PORTLAND – WEX Inc. said Tuesday it has suspended its plans to expand and possibly relocate its corporate headquarters.
WEX has suspended its plans to expand and possibly relocate its corporate headquarters in South Portland.
Courtesy of WEX
The credit-card payment processing company had been considering expansion opportunities in Maine, including Portland and South Portland, that would have more than doubled the size of its current headquarters in South Portland.
WEX spokeswoman Trish O'Donnell did not provide any reasons for the decision.
"Over the past year, WEX has considered a variety of potential options for new office space, including possibly expanding at our current location in South Portland," O'Donnell said Tuesday in a written statement. "We have made a decision to put on hold building a new corporate headquarters.
"We are committed to staying in the Greater Portland area," she said, "and our interim plan is to secure satellite space for our employees in addition to our current locations."
O'Donnell declined to elaborate beyond the written statement, other than to say that for "various reasons" the expansion options under consideration weren't a good fit now.
The announcement comes just days after the company met with South Portland planners and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and indicated it would soon file plans to expand its South Portland campus. The company's headquarters is on Gorham Road.
WEX processes credit card purchases of fuel and vehicle maintenance. It also has expanded into the market for virtual credit cards in the travel and health care industries.
Last year, WEX confirmed to the Portland Press Herald that it was exploring options for an expanded campus.
WEX had been considering Thompson's Point in Portland for the expansion. WEX Chairman and CEO Michael E. Dubyak is an investor in the Maine Red Claws, which will play its home games in an arena planned for Thompson's Point.
Chris Thompson, a partner in Forefront Partners I, the group that will develop Thompson's Point, said in June that he was working with a large office tenant on the designs of a 175,000-square-foot office building.
On Monday, Thompson told the Press Herald he was now in negotiations with two potential tenants for the office building, but would not comment further. He would not discuss WEX's expansion efforts Tuesday.
However, WEX had recently signaled that it was prepared to move forward with an expansion at its existing campus in South Portland.
Before Tuesday afternoon's announcement, South Portland officials were hopeful about those plans.
On July 25, WEX officials and the Massachusetts-based Gutierrez Co. met with South Portland planners and the DEP about building a new, 100,000-square-foot building and parking garage at 225 Gorham Road.
South Portland Planner Steve Puleo said WEX would need a site location permit from the DEP before it could present plans to the Planning Board. "We're sort of waiting," said Puleo, who referred follow-up questions to the DEP on Tuesday morning.
WEX had a pre-application meeting with the DEP on July 25 and indicated it would file a site location application with the agency by the end of August, said Marybeth Richardson, licensing and compliance manager for the DEP's southern Maine office.
"It seemed like this was going to go forward," Richardson said. "They were looking to see what they could do to make the application process go smoothly."
Puleo said the DEP meeting was an indication that WEX had made a commitment to a concept and a design.
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