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Updated: June 3, 2024

Robbins Lumber’s 100-acre Hancock County mill may not stay a mill after selling to contractor

The former Robbins Lumber mill site has lots of buildings and 100 acres in Hancock. Photo / COURTESY, ROBBINS LUMBER INC. Waltham contractor Elliott Jordan & Sons Inc. bought a 100-acre industrial property in Hancock.

Two months after putting its 100-acre mill complex in Hancock up for sale, Robbins Lumber Inc. has sold it to Elliott Jordan & Sons Inc., a general contractor, for the list price of $2.5 million.

The buyer doesn’t necessarily plan to use it as a mill.

“We see it as a site that probably has more value being developed over a number of years,” Duane Jordan, who owns Waltham-based Elliott Jordan & Sons with his sons Brian and Adam, told Mainebiz. Waltham is about 20 miles from the Hancock site; both are in Hancock County. 

The seller and buyer of a Hancock mill shake hands with others looking on.
Jim Robbins, left, shakes hands with Duane Jordan at the closing.

Robert Baldacci and David Jones of F.O. Bailey Real Estate represented both the buyer and the seller in the sale. 

The property

With 108,655 square feet across 22 buildings, the complex at 17 Wyman Road is two miles from U.S. Route 1 and downtown Ellsworth. The property was marketed as a redevelopment opportunity, zoned for uses such as a business park or campground.

Some of the buildings are in excellent shape and others not so much. The buildings date from the 1970s to the 1990s.

“It’s a pretty significant property and opportunity for Downeast Maine,” Baldacci said.

The seller

Robbins Lumber is a lumber manufacturer and distributor headquartered in Searsmont. Siblings Catherine Robbins-Halsted, Jim Robbins and Alden Robbins are the fifth generation of the family to own and manage the operation, which has been in business since 1881. 

The company, one of the top three Eastern white pine producers in New England, acquired the Hancock sawmill and a Sanford facility from Pleasant River Lumber Co. in 2023. Robbins Lumber continues to operate in Searsmont, Sanford and a facility in East Baldwin. 

Company President Jim Robbins previously told Mainebiz that, shortly after the company bought the Hancock plant, it experienced a major failure of a specialized machine responsible for 60% of the plant’s production. The company continued to operate at reduced capacity while also looking into replacement machinery.

But it would have taken two years to get the replacement, leaving the mill at a reduced capacity that wasn’t sustainable, he said.

The buyer

Elliott Jordan & Son has been in operation since 1940, starting out in the logging business and expanding into construction and blueberry farming.

Duane Jordan is a third-generation logger. 

With his sons, Elliott Jordan & Sons Inc. is focused more these days on earthworks. The Waltham location is the main base for equipment, allowing the company to work throughout Hancock and Washington counties.

The Hancock mill was of interest because it’s not far from the Waltham facility and presented redevelopment opportunities, although there’s no particular plan yet, said Jordan.

The company has met with the town officials and plans to work with them, as well as representatives of Hancock County and other local interests, to see what’s needed, he said.

Machias Savings Bank financed the acquisition.

The former Robbins Lumber mill site is seen from the air with a red line delineating the boundary.
Robbins Lumber’s Hancock plant sold for the list price of $2.5 million.

In addition to earthworks, the company still does some logging and also is involved in the development of wind and solar farms in Hancock County, he said. 

“We love logging, but Downeast Maine has been hurt pretty hard with all the mill closures,” Jordan said. “We had to diversify.”

Jordan said he views the mill purchase as an opportunity for further diversification.

“We know it will take some time,” he said. 

He added, “We’re excited about it.”

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