GAYLORD, MI- What was once billed as the largest particleboard plant east of the Mississippi River, is being demolished by Georgia-Pacific (G-P).
Citing poor market conditions, exacerbated by the high cost of raw materials and energy, G-P announced it would permanently close the Gaylord mill in March 2006. The closing resulted in the lay off of 210 workers.
Last January, G-P pulled the three-building complex, totaling nearly 600,000 square feet, off the market. The complex occupies about 179 acres of the more than 900-acre siite, according to the Otsego County Economic Alliance's website.
After several failed attempts to sell the vacated mill, G-P is in the process of securing permits so it can remove the buildings in preparation for selling the property, according to the Petoskey News. The buildings are already being stripped of their metal siding for its scrap value, the newspaper reported.
The last unsuccessful plan to re-develop the Gaylord mill was in 2010. Plans called for the site to become Michigan's “flagship” eco-industrial park. It was to include a biomass power plant, lumber yard and mill and wood pellet manufacturing facility. Other earlier potential deals to use the facility as a lumber mill or wood pellet operations failed to bear fruit, as did a proposal to produce cellulose biomass ethanol.
The Gaylord particleboard plant opened in 1965. In announcing the $5 million project, United States Plywood said it would be the largest particleboard manufacturing facility east of the Mississippi River. U.S. Plywood soon after merged with Champion Papers. G-P purchased the mill from Champion in 1987 and produced particleboard under the Novaply name.
According to the Ostego County Economic Alliance, 648 acres of the property is zoned industrial and contains approximately 48 acres of industrial landfill (saw dust dumps). About 50 acres of the Gaylord side is zoned residential.