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ROCKLAND, Maine — Linda Bean, who has become a major player in the lobster industry, has purchased an 11,000-square-foot building from a Canadian company that had planned to convert the facility into a lobster processing plant.
Rather than using the Rockland building for processing lobsters, however, Bean said Thursday that it will be used for storage of lobsters, grading the crustaceans and distribution.
Bean already owns and operates a 23,000-square-foot lobster processing plant on Merrill Drive which is located in the same Rockland Industrial Park as the property she just bought at 1 Gordon Drive. She also owns a 12,000-square-foot building at 29 Gordon Drive which is used for lobster storage.
Bean, through her company Amalgamated Enterprises LLC, purchased the 1 Gordon Drive property on April 26. The building, located on 1.6 acres in the industrial park, was the former site of the printing plant for Courier Publications and later VillageSoup.
The building and land went through a foreclosure auction last year after owner Richard Anderson closed his newspapers in March 2012.
The property was purchased in September by a New Brunswick company, Les Pecheries de Chez-Nous Ltd. The company’s owner Frank Benoit said at that time that he was planning to convert the vacant printing plant into a lobster processing plant and that he expected to eventually employ up to 40 people.
Bean said Thursday, however, that she successfully purchased the property from Benoit last month. Renovations to the building were about 90 percent complete at the time of purchase, she said. The property is assessed by the city for $401,000 and was purchased for $330,000 in September by the Canadian company. The latest sale price was not disclosed.
John Petersdorf, the president and general manager of Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster, said he expects an initial hiring of six to 10 workers at the new facility and that could increase.
Bean pointed out Thursday that since she acquired her first buying station in Port Clyde in 2007, the amount of lobsters she purchases each year has grown from 400,000 pounds to 5.5 million pounds. That volume prompted her to acquire the additional space to store lobsters near her processing plant.
Bean also owns buying stations on Vinalhaven and Tenants Harbor.