8.13.2007 – A defunct paper mill in Brewer, Maine, a city of 9,000 along Maine’s Penobscot River, will be resurrected as a modular construction facility providing hundreds of jobs and a boost for the local economy under a plan announced by Brewer officials. Pittsfield, Maine, contractor Cianbro and South Brewer Redevelopment LLC have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together towards a purchase and sale agreement for the former Eastern Fine Paper mill site. Cianbro intends to revitalize the mill site as a modular construction facility for the fabrication and assembly of large modules weighing in excess of 1,000 tons for industrial process plants located in North America and abroad. North Carolina-based Niemann Capital, LLC, the community development firm previously selected for the site, agreed to allow Cianbro to redevelop the Brewer mill site. At one time, there were more than 100 paper mills in the state, with production at some reaching 1,000 tons per day, and one-quarter of Maine’s manufacturing workforce employed in the industry. But paper mills and their jobs have been disappearing from Maine for the last 35 years as companies pursued cheaper labor in other parts of the United States and in other countries. The Eastern Fine Paper mill was one of these mills, closing its doors in 2004 after operating as a lumber mill and a paper mill for more than a century. During the years since the mill closed, the site has been the subject of extensive preparation for redevelopment by the South Brewer Redevelopment agency. SBR has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfield program on two environmental assessments leading up to the remediation planning. The first phase of environmental remediation was scheduled to begin this summer with soil remediation, the removal of abandoned above ground fuel storage tanks, and an updated lead and asbestos study. Additional work will take place this summer on the traffic study, road improvements and design of a pier — steel and other construction materials will sail in while finished components sail out on the Penobscot River. Planners expect the site to be fully operational by April 1, 2008.
New England Construction, an Associated Construction Publications title,August 13, 2007, Staff