COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. -- SmartLam, the first manufacturer of cross-laminated timber in the United States, announced that it's expanding its operations to the East Coast by opening a new manufacturing facility in Maine.

SmartLam recently received $3 million from the Maine Technology Institute, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to growing innovation and employment opportunities within the state, to assist with this expansion. The total cost of the project will be $23.5 million and is expected to create roughly 100 direct jobs and twice that amount in indirect jobs. Site selection for the facility is in process and will be completed within the next two months.  

“We are seeing considerable demand for CLT on the East Coast as architects, builders and developers seek durable, sustainable building materials,” said SmartLam President and General Manager Casey Malmquist. “Our new Maine facility will provide us with the perfect vantage point to supply customers with our premium CLT products while allowing us to lower the environmental impact and costs associated with shipping.”  

Customers of CLT products are not the only group that will benefit from this expansion. It will allow SmartLam to generate employment opportunities, evolve their existing four-year relationship with the University of Maine, and aid the state’s forestry industry by utilizing the significant softwood lumber resource it has to offer. 

The decision to expand to the East Coast comes just four months after the Montana-based company announced its plans to open another facility in Columbia Falls that will serve as their new headquarters. SmartLam currently produces more than 1 million board feet of CLT per month and employs 40 people in the Flathead Valley of Montana.

SmartLam's expansion news comes shortly after LignaTerra Global, another manufacturer of CLT, announced it will build a $30 million, 300,000-sq-ft CLT plant - also in Maine. That plant will create 100 jobs with production beginning in one year.

CLT can be used to construct buildings of equal strength and fire-resistance as those made of steel and concrete. It has fueled the passions of architects and environmentalists, who believe it to be a much greener method for housing the world's growing population. 
Due to its benefits for carbon capture and reduced CO2 emissions in construction, CLT has sparked interest worldwide. Proposals for new projects include a 500,000-sq-ft skyscraper in New Jersey, a 100-story tower in London, a 40-story building in Stockholm, and a residential complex in Vancouver.  An 18-story CLT wood structure, a student residence at the University of British Columbia, is nearing completion.


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