Belfast-based company secures $ 85million in funding to start manufacturing operation at Madison plant

Belfast-based MADISON – GO Lab announced on Thursday that it has secured the $ 85 million in funding needed to begin construction of a manufacturing facility at the former Madison Paper Industries factory.

Pittsfield’s Cianbro construction will now move forward with the installation of three manufacturing lines that will be used to manufacture three types of wood fiber insulation that GO Lab calls TimberHP.

“Everyone has worked extremely hard over the past few years to ensure that we have the significant up-front capital needed to turn a paper mill into the first wood fiber insulation manufacturing plant in North America,” Josh Henry , co-founder and president of GO Lab, said in a statement.

GO Lab will employ 120 people at the Madison plant, with more jobs expected to be created by the end of 2022, company officials said in the statement announcing the funding.

The construction products maker closed the Madison plant in 2019 in a $ 1.9 million deal.

The announcement marks the start of a new chapter for the city after losing Madison Paper Industries when it closed in May 2016. The shutdown has been a blow to the city’s tax base and officials have spent years in court to fight for the valuation of the property, nestled between Main Street and the Kennebec River. Maine’s highest court sided with the city in July against Madison Paper, which argued it was owed a tax refund because the plant was valued at more than its value.

But rather than recall the past, officials looked to the city’s benefit the new plant should be on Thursday.

“It’s a big deal, it’s been about two and a half years since GO Lab raised funds to start this project,” said managing director Tim Curtis. “We did what we could with small grants. ($ 85 million) that’s what it takes to revitalize an industrial base and that’s what (GO Lab) and what we expected to exceed.

People walking past the plant over the next few weeks will see heavy equipment as work is carried out inside and outside the sprawling property.

“Work is ongoing and heavy equipment is being used to prepare (the facility) to accept the equipment,” Curtis said. “With equipment comes jobs and with jobs comes revitalization. Madison Paper has been a great 40 year run for the town of Madison. As an employer and as part of our tax base, they have always been a good public partner.

The total cost of the GO Lab project is approximately $ 110 million. TimberHP is a wood fiber insulation intended for the residential and light commercial construction markets. Insulation has been produced in Europe for more than two decades and accounts for more than $ 700 million in annual sales in the European Union, GO Lab said.

The $ 85 million was secured by bonds issued by the Finance Authority of Maine. The notes were sold to a dozen institutional investors who manage large municipal bond funds, the company said. The plan is to begin producing TimberHP bulk insulation in the first quarter of 2023, followed by wood fiber products in the second and third quarters.

“GO Lab is charting an innovative new path for Maine, developing our forest products industry in exciting ways that will revitalize manufacturing, provide well-paying jobs in rural communities and strengthen our economy,” Governor Janet Mills said in the communicated. released Thursday.

The financial arrangements between Madison and GO Lab include a loan of $ 400,000 and three grants totaling $ 1.65 million. The loan was acquired in 2019 when the city received funding of $ 300,000 to loan GO Lab for engineering costs; the city contributed an additional $ 100,000.

“This is a great public-private partnership in redeveloping an industrial base,” Curtis said. “Now that the funding is in place, we are ready to start manufacturing forest products again in Madison. “

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