UNION — Longtime Rockland manufacturer Steel-Pro has bought land in Union and will be building a new state-of-the-art facility.

The announcement was made Thursday, Aug. 4 by Union Town Manager Jay Feyler on his Union Maine USA Facebook page. Steel-Pro purchased on July 25 both the former B.M. Clark Co. building on Route 17 — which consists of 4 acres — and 10 acres from the William L. Pullen Testamentary Trust.

The company plans to build a state-of-the-art facility and move operations to Union in the next few years.

The Union Maine USA page also said the company will work with the town for a recreation area that will benefit the Steel-Pro employees and the citizens of Union.

Steel-Pro was founded in 1978 by Don Wilson and Fred Carey on the Rockland waterfront off Front Street. The plant started as a metal fabricator for the adjacent SeaPro plant, which processed waste fish into fish meal for companies such as pet food producers. Seapro closed in 1988 after years of complaints about the stench from the fish waste plant.

Christopher Beebe became co-owner of Steel-Pro with Carey in 1983. Beebe then purchased Carey’s share of the company in 2000.

In 2014, Steel-Pro was converted to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Steel-Pro is a metal fabricator, building stainless steel tanks used in a variety of industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and chemicals. Most of the employees are welders, but there are also engineers who work at the facility.

The company sought an expansion of its Rockland facility in 2021 but did move forward with the project. In 2019, the company had more than 60 employees.

The company’s properties in Rockland are assessed at more than $1.3 million.

In 2021, the properties where Steel-Pro, North End Shipyard, and Schooner Wharf are located were put on the market. Combined, the properties have nearly nine acres, 2,100 feet of shore frontage, and 690 feet of frontage on Route 1.

No sale has occurred.

The sale price for the two parcels in Union were about $240,000 for the 4 acres with the building and about $70,000 for the remaining 1o acres.

 

Steel-Pro in Rockland. Photo by Stephen Betts

Steel-Pro employees from a photo posted on the company’s Facebook page. 5iveLeaf Design Studio / 5iveLea