Shipyard prison: The Next Brig Thing


Jack Nicholson is my unofficial celebrity ambassador for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard prison redevelopment project: aka The Next Brig Thing.

Hey Apple. Hey Google. What would be cooler than locating your new East Coast genius lab in a crazy, century-old prison castle inspired by Alcatraz and featured in an infamous, Oscar-nominated Jack Nicholson flick?

Newsflash: The U.S. Navy is once again looking to lease the magnificent island fortress known as the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard prison.

The breathtaking oceanfront site is currently ranked by Triple Action News as one of the top 5 top-secret real estate opportunities in the world.

Long story short, the Navy is looking for a few good companies — anchor companies — so I wanted to put our prison on your radar screen.

In my capacity as self-appointed talent scout slash marketing wizard, please allow me to introduce the first unofficial slogan for this epic economic engine by the ocean.

“Shipyard prison redevelopment: The Next Brig Thing”

Aye aye, captains of industry. Point your GPSes over to Portsmouth and Kittery. Lock in on Seavey Island, Piscataqua River.

Google Earth it. Swoop in over the Atlantic from the East. Imagine a suite of executive offices perched up in those castle turrets. Then send an advance team to c’mon out and kick the towers.

Since our cutting-edge, clean-technology anchor tenants, will be creating hundreds (thousands?) of high-paying jobs, we will need to feed the people.

My restaurant team is in talks to open in early 2016 a swanky joint called The Mess Hall — serving savory seafaring rations and pouring the region’s finest locally brewed grog.

Other eateries might opt for trendy Navy yard names like The Dungeon and Remedial Toxic Waste Site No. 342A.

A submarine restaurant is a nautical no-brainer. And Gangplank seems like a logical name for a floating, wooden-hulled watering hole pouring tall PBRs on the poop deck. Ship happens.

Certainly there’ll be room to squeeze in a few condos. I’m thinking 8-by-10 studios each illuminated by a solitary World War II-era surplus bulb dangling from an artfully frayed wire. Prison chic.

“Buy Low — Cell High!”

This will, of course, lead to much talk about popping a parking garage onto the island. But in keeping with local tradition, those discussions will lead nowhere.

Another advantage: The shipyard prison is strategically located just a short stroll to the newly resurgent Kittery Foreside restaurant district. (Test marketing indicates mixed reaction to my campaign to “brand” Kittery Foreside with the nickname K4.)

Of course, I’m planning to reach out to Jack Nicholson, who was nominated for the Oscar in “The Last Detail” (1973) as Billy “Badass” Buddusky, one of two sailors hauling Randy Quaid off to do eight years of hard time at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard prison.

Picture Jack (picture Billy Badass) smashing a bottle of bubbly to christen the high-tech, rigged-out shipyard castle. Launching the Navy prison project like a ship.

Launching custom-crafted partnerships. Excitement off the starboard bow. Shipyard prison: Unlock the potential.
Keep your periscope pointed here for all the scuttlebutt about the Next Brig Thing — right down to the last detail.

— John Breneman



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