Belfast company plans to buy former Madison paper mill for insulation production, employing 110

By Rachel Ohm, Morning Sentinel | Apr 10, 2019
The closed Madison Paper Industries mill is seen from across the Kennebec River in Anson on May 16, 2018. A Belfast company is planning to buy the former mill building to produce wood fiber insulation. Morning Sentinel file photo by David Leaming

A research and development firm based in Belfast is in the process of buying the former Madison Paper Industries mill with plans to redevelop the site into a manufacturing hub for wood fiber insulation, a venture that could bring more than 100 jobs.

The pending sale comes just over three years after Madison Paper announced in March 2016 it would close, putting 214 people out of work in May that year and adding to a string of paper mill closures around the state.

 

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Read the story about Madison Paper announcing its closure in 2016

 

Joshua Henry, president of GO Lab Inc., a company that specializes in developing products for the construction industry, said in an interview that the group has been looking for the past three to four years to open up a wood fiber insulation manufacturing plant in Maine.

The company started looking into the former Madison Paper Industries site about a year ago and recently came to an agreement to buy the facility, currently owned by Somerset Acquisition LLC.

The sale is not yet complete and Henry said he could not disclose the purchase price, but said it is not far off from the $2.5 million listing price.

He said he plans to take over ownership by the end of the year and start renovations in 2020.

The mill would be outfitted to produce wood fiber insulation, an alternative to fiberglass or mineral wool that Henry said is currently not produced in North America.

“Our goal is to make Madison the first facility producing that material in North America,” he said. “I think it’s a great market because the northeast is the densest insulation market in the country.”

Henry said the company was attracted to the Madison site because the former mill would fit their space and structural needs and because of the human capital still in the area. He has already hired two former Madison Paper Industries employees that formerly worked in upper management at the mill.

“There’s a lot of talent there and we’re excited about bringing jobs back to the area,” Henry said.

At full capacity he said he plans to employ about 110 people. He also said the operation should help support Maine’s wood products industry.

“I want to thank the town of Madison and the state for supporting us,” Henry said. “I’ve been extremely impressed by the skilled workforce that is still available in the state of Maine, their professionalism, integrity and excitement about the wood products industry in Maine. It makes me extremely hopeful and excited about the future of our company and the future of the wood products industry.”

“From everything I’ve heard about this company I think it’s exciting,” said Madison Town Manager Tim Curtis. “I think they would be a really good fit for the former Madison paper space and it’s wood products based manufacturing, so that’s good for our area as well.”

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