The owners recently formed OTM Holdings LLC of Old Town to buy the site and attract tenants who will use low-grade fiber from the forestry industry, said Everett Deschenes, OTM spokesman. The fiber could be used to make clean fuels, chemicals and wood products.
Deschenes would not identify OTM’s individual investors but did say they are from the Old Town area.
“The mill has been through a lot of ups and downs over the last 10 years,” he said. “Our end objective is to have local control over the facility with local management and local employees. It has a better chance that way.”
The mill, located at 24 Portland St., opened in 1860 as a sawmill and has had various owners. Georgia Pacific bought it in 2000 and closed it in 2006, idling 459 workers. Until the purchase announced this week, the mill was owned by MFGR LLC of Enfield, Connecticut, the same liquidation firm that bought the shuttered Lincoln paper mill.
Old Town officials are reacting positively to news that OTM Holdings has purchased the mill and plans to revive it.
“The city is looking at it as a very hopeful sign,” said David Russell, Old Town’s code enforcement officer. He said the new owners have not yet applied for any permits for the property.
Deschenes would not disclose the purchase price. As of Sept. 2, 2017, Old Town’s tax records listed the property as 646,042 square feet on 54.89 acres. The land was valued at $1.4 million and the buildings at $3.57 million. Annual property taxes were $111,110.
Deschenes said OTM Holdings’ members will meet soon to determine how to vet parties interested in moving into the mill.
“In the next month to month and a half, we’ll have a good idea of how we’ll go about [getting businesses into the mill],” he said. Deschenes said he’ll probably be named director of business development but currently has no title.
The Technology Research Center of the University of Maine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute already occupies a 40,000-square-foot warehouse at the mill. Deschenes said many of the mill’s potential tenants are already working with the center. Several have expressed interest, he said.
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