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Updated: December 4, 2023

Maine-based steel processor buys $4.25M building in Saco to expand capacity

big building and dirt yard Courtesy / The Dunham Group American Steel and Aluminum is performing upgrades to its 50,920-square-foot industrial building at 75 Spring Hill Road in Saco, which will be used for inventory storage and to increase its heavy-plate cutting capacity.

American Steel and Aluminum LLC, a Maine company that supplies and processes metal to customer specifications, plans to expand its plate cutting and shot blasting capacity into a 50,920-square-foot industrial building on 11.43 acres at 75 Spring Hill Road in Saco.

American Steel bought the property from CJT Enterprises LLC for $4.25 million. Tom Dunham and Greg Hastings from the Dunham Group brokered the sale. 

The building dates to 2000 and was renovated in 2008. It was formerly occupied by Casco Bay Steel Structures.

American Steel will use the facility for inventory storage and to increase heavy-plate cutting capacity, said Sam Blatchford, the firm's president.

“We have a 40,000-square-foot facility in Lewiston — which is a lease, so we’ll exit at the end of 2025 or sooner, if someone wants to rent it,” he said. 

American Steel is a subsidiary of privately owned Nova Steel Group, a Quebec-based processor and distributor with plants in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

The company processes steel, aluminum and other metals, from U.S. and Canadian mills, to customer specs, then distributes the processed materials to manufacturers throughout Maine and the Northeast.  

person operating machinery
Courtesy / American Steel and Aluminum LLC
An American Steel and Aluminum LLC technician operates a tube laser.

Metal arrives via rail and truck as sheets, plates, tubes, bars, beams and other shapes. 

American Steel stores nearly 4,000 different stock-keeping units of metal, from 50-foot-long beams to quarter-inch-wide “keystock” steel used in gears and couplings.

Maine-based customers include Bath Iron Works in Bath, Hussey Seating Co. in North Berwick and Rockland manufacturer Fisher Engineering, owned by Milwaukee, Wis.-based Douglas Dynamics.

American Steel uses computerized technology, including laser-, plasma- and oxy-cutting, to fulfill custom orders for sheet, plate, tube and bar requirements. Additional services including grinding, deburring, bending, machining and kitting. The South Portland site recently earned a globally recognized standard for quality management, ISO 9001-2015.

Major customers

American Steel was established in 1806 by Francis Edmonds as Swedes Iron, on Portland's Long Wharf. 

Soon Swedes Iron was also carrying steel and in 1869 incorporated as E. Corey & Co., after the name of Edmonds' partner. The company remained on the waterfront until it merged with American Steel and moved in the 1960s to its current location at 115 Wallace Ave. in South Portland, which has expanded its footprint through the years. 

Today, South Portland is an 80,000-square-foot facility and is the only full-service metals distributor in Maine.  

The company's customers include major defense contractors. American Steel recently built a rail-served 52,000-square-foot facility in West Bath to exclusively support Bath Iron Works, a division of General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD).

In Auburn, Mass., near Worcester, American Steel has a 105,000-square-foot plant that services General Dynamics' Electric Boat submarine industrial base, with a laser punch, forming, blasting, welding and powder coat equipment services. The General Dynamics Electric Boat site is in Groton, Conn., an hour south of the Auburn-Worcester area. It is the primary builder of submarines for the U.S. Navy.

American Steel also operates facilities in Fremont, N.H., and Liverpool, N.Y.

The Fremont, N.H., flame-cutting division offers oxy- and plasma-plate cutting and drilling services.

Liverpool, N.Y.’s 55,000-square-foot facility serves a diverse group of customers in upstate New York with distribution, laser cutting, plate processing, robotic welding and other value-added services.

Saco expansion

For now, the 40,000-square-foot Lewiston location provides inventory storage for Bath Iron Works’ materials, such as beams, split-T sections and pipes, for just-in-time delivery.

American Steel will move Lewiston operations to the Saco location and also add about 30% more plate cutting and processing capacity for General Dynamics Electric Boat. American Steel cuts and forms plates and other parts for the submarines.  

The company bought a state-of-the-art piece of plate processing equipment for the Saco location. The combination plasma cutting, oxy cutting, milling and drilling machine, made by Kinetic, a New Zealand manufacturer with an office in the U.S., will handle up to 8-inch-thick plate and will be able to do bevels. 

American Steel has about 190 employees across its divisions; half are in Maine. 

“We started at 120 employees when I joined the company 11 years ago,” said Blatchford.

person talking with machinery in background
File Photo / Peter Van Allen
Sam Blatchford, president of American Steel and Aluminum in South Portland, is seen here in 2019 when he oversaw the addition of a $1.4 million laser cutter used in steel fabrication.

The building’ tenants in Saco have a leaseback on 14,000 square feet of the building until the end of January. American Steel began upgrades in the rest of the building in early November, including cleaning, fresh paint, HVAC installations and some grading. The property purchase and upgrades were cash-financed.

The company expects to be operational in Saco by the end of January.

The company has plans for continued growth. It bought some land behind the South Portland plant and is making plans to eventually add on there. 

But the Saco acquisition met the company’s immediate requirements.

“It came down to build or buy,” said Blatchford. “Build options weren’t readily available. This came up.”

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