May 4, 2023

Millinocket 2.0: Our Katahdin is building a green bridge to the future

Maine Biz

August 1, 2022

One North, managed by Our Katahdin, is a 1,400-acre, mixed-use industrial site in Millinocket, formerly known as the Great Northern Paper mill site. The vision for the site is to be a center for the development and manufacturing of sustainable products to meet the world’s growing demand. One North is interested in attracting tenants in the following industries: sustainable forest products, including saw and pellet mills and mass timber; bio-based manufacturing; renewable energy, including biofuels, solar and hydro; aquaculture; and data storage.

The management organization, Our Katahdin, is located in Millinocket and is a volunteer-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in December 2014 to support community and economic development in the Katahdin region of Maine. Our Katahdin focuses on four key priorities to help move the Katahdin region forward: (a) partnering with citizen leaders to implement “small win” community projects; (b) revitalization of the downtown corridor of the Katahdin region; (c) improving broadband access and infrastructure; and (d) industrial site redevelopment.

The historic former Great Northern Paper mill site was constructed in 1901 and quickly became the world’s largest paper mill. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, at its peak, the mill employed more than 2,000. Global competition and lack of investment led to mill down-sizing and layoffs in the 1990s, followed by permanent closure in 2008.

Our Katahdin purchased the mill site in 2017 from Cate Street Capital, and has since rebranded the site as “One North”.

“For so many of us in the community, it will always be the GNP mill site, but we have realized that to communicate to the world the unique assets we have here in the Katahdin region, we needed a new name and vision for the site,” said Sean DeWitt, President of Our Katahdin. “We are building this brand to last for the next 100 years.”


Our Katahdin is developing One North to expand the potential of Maine’s bioeconomy by connecting regional working forests to growing global demand for sustainable products. The site is a “renewable energy hub,” with capacity to provide 126 megawatts of clean, renewable hydropower with an additional five megawatts of solar electricity coming online in 2023. The site also has rail, fiber internet, gravity-fed water and is located in the state-designated Pine Tree Zone and federally designated Opportunity Zone, offering financial incentives for investors and job creators. Companies operating on the One North site benefit from reduced-rate power and advanced electrical infrastructure.

One North will power new jobs and investments with 100% renewable energy. In June 2021, Our Katahdin announced that Nautilus Data Technologies would be building an environmentally-friendly data center on the site, which is expected to be operational in 2023. Other ongoing renewable energy-based projects include a lease with ORPC, Inc. to host a modular hydroelectric test site and a solar project with Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company.

“There is a reason this site served as one of the world’s largest paper-making sites for over 100 years,” noted Steve Sanders, the site’s Industrial Development Director. “We are located on the doorstep of 5.6 million acres of forest land and are close to major U.S. and Canadian markets. There are 52 million people within 500 miles of us.”

In addition to over $9 million in ongoing infrastructure and site improvements, Our Katahdin is working with partners to develop a bio-based commercialization hub on the site, which will reuse facilities that were once home to highly skilled engineers and technicians in the pulp and paper industry. The commercialization hub will focus on bringing emerging green technology to market. Development of a bio-based commercialization hub will be a long-term project on the One North site.

“If there is one message we want to convey, it’s one of welcome,” said Mike Faloon, Vice President of Finance and Investment for Our Katahdin. “We are exploring opportunities in multiple industries, including mass timber, pellets, aquaculture, and small manufacturing. We have a skilled team, excellent incentives, a great location, and are ready to welcome new businesses to the region.”

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