SOUTH PORTLAND – A South Portland manufacturing plant vacant since June 2011 chugged back to life this week, potentially reopening the valve on the local economy.

The 55,000-square-foot facility at 1 Madison St. that was once housed Portland Valve LLC is now home to Allagash International, also a maker of industrial valves and controls.

According to Allagash CEO Terry Ingram, it was a rapid turnaround for company workers, who completed the move from 1000 Riverside Street in Portland on Friday.

Allagash needed the extra space to meet growing demand, said Ingram, noting that he intends to expand his 30-member workforce with 10 new employees by year’s end.

“Why are we growing in a down economy? That’s easy, we get out there and hustle,” said Ingram, who founded the company in 2002 from his Falmouth home, initially as a distributor.

Recently, the Greater Portland Economic Development Commission has been circulating a “no poaching” agreement among its six member towns. However, South Portland City Manager Jim Gailey says that while he is glad to have Allagash, he did not try to steal the company away from Portland.

“That’s true,” said Ingram. “We actually looked at expanding in Portland first, but there was only one place that was big enough for us – the Maine State Pier. We actually made an offer, but Portland didn’t want us there. They said we’re not marine related.

“Everyone here in South Portland has been absolutely great to work with,” said Ingram.

“We’re very happy to see re-use of that facility, especially in similar fashion to what it was built for,” said Gailey. “To have a quality company come to South Portland that’s looking to expand, not only in orders but employees, and wants to build a strong relationship with the local community college, that’s an ideal business that you want in your community.”

Both Gailey and Ingram say John Cacoulidis, who owns more than 20 acres between the Allagash plant and Bug Light Park, is in the process of buying the Madison Street building.

Ingram, who had wanted to be on the Maine State Pier to better ship his company’s valves, some of which can measure 4 feet in diameter, by barge to customers on four continents, now hopes Cacoulidis can bring off plans for a new deep-water access point on South Portland’s side of the harbor.

“It may well end up that South Portland is the best place we could possible be,” said Inrgram.

Showing off an example of what it will soon be building in South Portland, the Allagash International team, including, from left, CEO Terry Ingram and Director of Services Tim Page, display the 48-inch valves recently crafted for Massachusettes-based Ozone Services.    

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