Our Katahdin acquires Millinocket mill site and begins collaboration with town on redevelopment
Millinocket, Maine. January 12, 2017 – Our Katahdin, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in the Katahdin region, has acquired the former Great Northern Paper assets in Millinocket, including all property, designations, and liabilities held by GNP West, GNP Holdings II, and the New England Center for Business Development. Transfer of stewardship of the properties was finalized on January 11, 2017, for the nominal price of $1.
Holdings include the 1,400 acre former mill site, land adjacent to the Millinocket Municipal airport, a 157 acre parcel of land at Ferguson Pond and several additional parcels in Millinocket. The acquisition includes a Regional EB -5 Center, which is a valuable federal designation that enables foreign investors to invest in projects in the United States.
The purchase comes with approximately $1.4 million in tax liability to the IRS and $155,126 in back real estate taxes, as well as additional back taxes on business equipment owed to the Town of Millinocket.
The Town of Millinocket has filed liens against GNP West Inc. and GNP Holdings II Inc., with the FY15 tax lien of $66,325 set to mature on January 15,, 2017. The town council has voted at their regular meeting on January 12, 2017, to file a six-month waiver on foreclosure in the interest of defining the terms of continued collaboration. The Town of Millinocket and Our Katahdin will continue to engage on the remaining tax liabilities. Had the town chosen to foreclose on the property, it would have fractured the assets and embroiled the town in legal processes that would continue to delay economic redevelopment.
According to Mike Madore, Chairman of the Millinocket Town Council, “The best scenario for the citizens of Millinocket is to get the mill site back into service as an industrial park, with the EB -5 designation and environmental agreements intact. A collaboration between the town and Our Katahdin gives us the capacity to begin the hard work of transforming the mill site into a world-class industrial park. This is about using the incredible assets we have in the area to bring jobs and investment to the town.” Together, Our Katahdin and the Town of Millinocket have expanded capacity to marshal grants, investment, incentives and most importantly, to engage the local community in the process of redevelopment. Our Katahdin plans to utilize their community investment arm, Our Katahdin Investments which is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, to provide opportunities for citizens to invest in the redevelopment of the mill site.
“We know this purchase comes with enormous responsibility. We can’t promise instant results, but we can guarantee our best effort to help transform this idle industrial site into a productive, innovative bio- industrial park that leverages the comparative advantages of our region. This site is our heritage. We strongly believe in its future,” said Sean Dewitt, President of Our Katahdin.
Discussions about the mill site began between the GNP entities and Our Katahdin began in the summer of 2016.
“We are grateful that Our Katahdin was able to acquire the mill site and all other assets as a single unit. It was better for all parties that the purchase was finalized with the real estate, industrial assets and critical federal and state designations intact,” noted Dewitt.
To see a list of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit www.ourkatahdin.com/millsite.
About Our Katahdin
Founded in December 2014, Our Katahdin is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on community and economic development in the Katahdin region. It has partnered with local community leaders to crowdfund and implement twenty-one (21) projects in the Katahdin region since December 2014. It also purchased the historic downtown property at 230 Penobscot Avenue (a.k.a. “Miller’s Building”) in September 2016 and has applied for (3) federal and state grants to aid in its revitalization. Its B oard members are sons and daughters of the Katahdin region who believe in its future and include: Nancy DeWitt, Mike Faloon, Tony Foster, Michael Osborne, Sean DeWitt and Michael Seile Jr. www.ourkatahdin.com
About Millinocket, Maine
Millinocket is a town of approximately 4,200 people located in northern Penobscot County, Maine. Established in 1901, the town enjoyed a century of prosperity brought by Great Northern Paper – at its peak, one of the world’s largest paper making mills. The town’s population peaked in the 1960s at nearly 8,000 people with most working adults employed by local paper mills. In the wake of the collapse of the paper making industry and the closure of all the regions paper mills beginning in 2008, the town is focused on rebuilding and diversifying its economy through small manufacturing, tourism, and the digital economy.