AUGUSTA — After two-and-a-half years of development, a new 100,000-square-foot office space for state employees opened its doors Tuesday.

The new building, located at 109 Capitol St., will house more than 500 employees in the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, according to David Heidrich, director of engagement and community outreach for DAFS.

Jeanne Lambrew, the commissioner of DHHS, jokingly said not all 3,400 DHHS employees were under the same roof, but 500 was a lot closer.

“The employees of this department are dedicated, hardworking and talented, and they strive every day to support the people of Maine,” Maine Gov. Janet Mills said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday.

The 7.25-acre property is the former home of a Maine Department of Transportation maintenance facility and the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, but those buildings were demolished to make way for the new building. The Department of Transportation maintenance operations are now located at 66 Industrial Dr., and the Public Employees Retirement System is at 139 Capitol St.

The new Maine state office building on Tuesday at 109 Capital St. in Augusta. The building, on the former site of a Department of Transportation complex, will be offices for more than 500 employees of the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Administrative and Financial Services. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

In addition to the 100,000-square-foot building, there are also about 490 parking spots on the property.

This combination of photos shows an undated photo of 150 Capitol St. from the state archives, a photo of the same building taken Oct. 3, 2014, and again during demolition Oct. 12. 2017. The site near the State House is a new office building for the Department of Health and Human Services at 109 Capitol St. Kennebec Journal file photos / Kennebec Journal file photo by Joe Phelan (bottom image)

The development proposal was approved in September 2016, and a construction contract was awarded to Arlington, Virginia-based FD Stonewater in December 2016, Heidrich said.

The state is leasing the space from FD Stonewater, an agreement executed in June 2017. The rent will be $19 per square foot in the first year of the 30-year lease but will increase to $25 per square foot by the last year of the lease. That amounts to $1.9 million in rent annually at the start of the lease and $2.5 million per year by the end of the pact.

The lease covers all the costs of the building except for electricity, Heidrich said.

The cost of construction, paid for by FD Stonewall, is not known since it is private, according to Kyle Hadyniak, DAFS’s director of communications.

The building opened earlier than expected — its anticipated date was July 1 — because construction was completed ahead of schedule. The building was fully occupied by the end of May, Heidrich said.

“It’s not just about the building,” Mills said Tuesday, “but the people in it.”

During construction, several underground and above-ground storage tanks that were leaking were cleaned, said Claiborne Williams, principal of FD Stonewater. There was also asbestos cleaned.

“The building also helps the environment with new LED lighting, a state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning system and a well-insulated, highly efficient building envelope,” said DAFS Commissioner Kirsten Figueroa.

The DHHS and DAFS employees moved into the new building from offices at 21 State St. and 242 State St., Heidrich said.

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