JAX and Bar Harbor Housing Authority Sign Agreement on New Workforce Housing Complex

A rendering of Woodlands Lane from Aceto Landscape ArchitectureRendering courtesy Aceto Landscape Architecture

The Jackson Laboratory and the Bar Harbor Housing Authority (BHHA) have signed an agreement announcing BHHA as the property manager of JAX’s new Hemlock Lane workforce housing apartment complex.

The Hemlock Lane complex, which will be available to JAX employees starting September 1, 2022, will help to meet the critical need for year-round housing for employees working on the institution’s Bar Harbor campus. The new complex consists of 24 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units and includes Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant and pet-friendly options. 

Housing availability on Mount Desert Island is extremely limited and ranks as one of the top issues for JAX employees, faculty, postdocs and graduate students.

“We are excited to partner with the Bar Harbor Housing Authority on this important project, which will help address a crucial need,” said Catherine “Katy” Longley, JAX’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “The ability to build year-round workforce housing for employees is a strategic imperative for JAX. Many of our employees have a considerable commute due to the lack of housing options near JAX and we hope this new complex will make a difference in the lives of our employees and their families by providing an attractive option close to campus.”

In addition to providing full property management services for the project once it is occupied, BHHA will manage the application process for the Hemlock Lane complex. The initial application and selection process will be run as a lottery system and a waiting list will be maintained thereafter.

“My staff and I are looking forward to the Housing Authority’s partnership with JAX, as managing agent of their newly constructed apartments,” said BHHA Executive Director Duane Bartlett. “The housing deficit on Mount Desert Island is a significant impediment to attracting and retaining a year-round workforce, including individuals and their families who come to work at JAX from near and far. These new residences are critical to the continued viability of our island communities. I believe this project is a proactive, practical approach to helping alleviate the problem.”

All JAX Bar Harbor-based employees – including future employees who have accepted a pending job offer, dissertation graduate students, and postdoctoral candidates – who will be working on the Bar Harbor campus at least three days per week, are eligible to apply for the Hemlock Lane housing. There are 1423 employees employed at JAX’s Bar Harbor campus, and 313 of them currently live in Bar Harbor.  

“In order for JAX to continue attracting a world-class workforce to this special and unique part of Eastern Maine, we must focus on ways to remove some of the challenges that impact retention and recruitment – including as the availability of housing close to campus. By providing access to market-rate, year-round housing, we aim to provide current and future employees enhanced living options,” Longley added.  “Working with the town of Bar Harbor, we will continue to address housing and other issues that are important to our employees, like childcare and transportation.”