Old Town, Maine, USA 01 February 2018 -- (From news reports) -- A shuttered paper mill that has been at the center of attempts to develop forest-based biotechnologies has been sold.
OTM Holdings, LLC announced late Wednesday that it has purchased the former Old Town pulp mill complex from MFGR, LLC. Details of the sale were not released, but OTM Holdings said it plans to redevelop the site into a wood fiber-based complex housing multiple tenants.
The sale will save the facility from the demolition that recently claimed other shuttered mills, according to a statement from Bob Maroney of Gordon Brothers, a partner with MFGR, the liquidation company that sold the mill. Maroney said the innovative redevelopment program will have broad economic impacts for the region, provide jobs and support to Maine's forest industry.
The University of Maine's Forest Bioproducts Research Institute Technology Research Center already occupies 40,000 square feet in the mill's warehouse. The center is expected to continue its work on-next generation value-added products made from wood, such as fuel and chemicals. It will be part of a fiber-based campus capitalizing on the mill's energy generation capacity and the surrounding forestland, OTM said.
The Old Town mill has been the site of a string of failures and more recently, a lawsuit.
The mill's potential continues to attract entrepreneurs, however, drawn by assets that include 4,000 feet of frontage on the Penobscot River, 400,000 square feet of warehouse space and a 16-megawatt biomass boiler.
Last summer, Samuel Eakin of Cape Elizabeth, the managing director of Relentless Capital Co. went to court, charging that his company was illegally pushed out of a prospective sale by MFGR.
Reached late Wednesday, Eakin said his company plans to file another suit in the near future related to the sale.
The complex had been on a downward spiral since 2003, when Georgia Pacific ceased tissue-making. Three years later, the company closed the pulp mill and associated chip mills in northern Maine, idling more than 500 workers. A succession of ventures aimed at restarting the pulp mill and jump-starting biofuels production followed: Red Shield, Old Town Fuel & Fiber and in 2014, Expera Specialty Solutions. Each went bankrupt or closed, erasing hundreds of jobs.
OTM is a joint venture by a Maine-based group of companies committed to the revitalization of Maine's forest based industry, the company's statement.
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