Maine Medical Center has purchased the largest office building in downtown Westbrook.

The Portland hospital Thursday announced its $10.75 million purchase of One Riverfront Plaza. The six-story building will house Maine Med’s information services team and other administrative employees who are currently spread across eight office locations in Greater Portland.

“We are incredibly excited to bring our information services team together in one location,” said Marcy Dunn, senior vice president and chief information officer for Maine Medical Center and MaineHealth. “We believe this will increase our team’s operating efficiencies and ultimately benefit our providers, nurses and the patients who benefit from their care.”

Located on the bank of the Presumpscot River, One Riverfront Plaza has 134,000 square feet of high-end office space. A newly opened pedestrian bridge connects the office directly with restaurants and shops on Westbrook’s Main Street. But the building has been vacant for more than a year. Disability RMS, a disability insurance provider and one of Westbrook’s largest employers, left for South Portland when its lease expired in January 2016.

The property owner, the New Jersey investment firm Pendleton Westbrook SPE LLC, was already struggling with the $20 million mortgage. The loss of its core tenant was a fatal blow. Court documents show the U.S. National Bank Association filed a lawsuit against the property owner and eventually bought the building back at a foreclosure auction in February. Soon after, the building was listed for sale.

City officials had expressed hope that a locally based company would take over the entire building, as Maine Med plans to do.

Caroline Cornish, communications manager at Maine Med, said 400 to 500 employees will eventually work in One Riverfront Plaza. The information services team supports the electronic medical record system used by clinical staff at Maine Med and MaineHealth, as well as the large computer networks used by employees.

“Their purchase and use of this location on the river will be key to the ongoing development of our downtown,” Westbrook Mayor Mike Sanphy said. “We have appreciated their presence in our community over the years and look forward to partnering with them in more significant ways with this major investment.”

John Wipfler, assistant city administrator, said the hospital will also lease the adjacent 540-space parking garage, which is owned by Westbrook. The lease costs $13,770 a month, or $165,240 per year. During the sale, the city was also reimbursed for garage payments owed by the previous owner – a debt of $248,346.

“Maine Med, they’re not going anywhere,” Wipfler said. “It’s going to be terrific jobs and a lot of people downtown.”

The move is expected this year. Maine Med rents office space in most of the eight buildings currently occupied by those people, and Cornish said the hospital plans to exit those leases.

“We would like to thank the city of Westbrook and other officials who have welcomed us to their community with open arms and plenty of support,” said Rich Petersen, Maine Med president and chief executive officer. “We are looking forward to building on our presence in Westbrook and continuing to build on an important long-term relationship with a wonderful community.”

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

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