DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The owners of the Moosehead Manufacturing Co. plant in Dover-Foxcroft plan to hold a public auction on Nov. 15 to sell both the building and the remaining contents inside.
That announcement, which was shared by Dover-Foxcroft Town Manager Jack Clukey on Monday with selectmen, came as a surprise because they had previously supported and received a grant for a structural analysis and reuse report and help for environmental testing at the site. Town officials and the Piscataquis County Economic Development Corp. were working with company officials to find a buyer.
The furniture company closed its plants in Monson and Dover-Foxcroft last year because it became too difficult to compete with cheap foreign imports. The Monson plant was later purchased by a group headed by Joshua Tardy of Newport, and the company is making furniture under the name of Moosehead Furniture.
“We’ve waited, we’ve talked and we need to move on,” John Wentworth, whose family owns the Dover-Foxcroft property, said Tuesday.
He said it was a difficult decision to make. “I was personally hoping to find a well-known real estate developer to come in, and there were a number of people who were very interested because it’s on the site of the river and it’s got a power generation hydro dam associated with it.” The interest, however, was expressed more than a year ago, and no movement has been made since, he said.
Wentworth said the environmental assessment has been completed, and the property has been certified by the state as clean, which should help any potential buyer. The reuse study should be available soon.
The plant, located on the Piscataquis River, has about 85,000 square feet, according to Wentworth. The nearby dam is owned by the town and leased to Tim Huff of Moosehead Energy.
Larry Pullen of Auburn, who was asked by the Moosehead Manufacturing Co. board of directors to help with the sale, said that while the hydro dam is not part of the property or the sale, it could play a role in the future operation of the mill. He said it is possible that Moosehead Energy might be interested in negotiating with the new mill owner.
Another asset at the plant is a biomass boiler that burns wood waste, Pullen said. The town valuation on the building is about $500,000, he said.
In addition to the building and land, the auction will feature about 200 to 300 lots of furniture, small tools, office equipment and woodworking parts.
Holmes Auction of Skowhegan will conduct the auction at 11 a.m. Nov. 15. A preview of the property and its contents will be offered from 9 to 11 a.m.
For more information, contact Pullen at 207-312-9609.