South Portland officials are exploring new locations for City Hall, including a vacant office building in the Knightville neighborhood, to replace the building on Cottage Road where municipal offices have been since 1931.

On Monday, the City Council discussed a short list of options. On the list are the two-year-old office building at 100 Waterman Drive and the nearby Mahoney Middle School, whose closure has been proposed in the past.

City officials recently toured the 32,000-square-foot office building. Mayor Tom Coward said it has a lot of potential.

“It’s the right size, a good price, and it’s very energy-efficient,” he said.

Andrew Ingalls, a broker with The Boulos Co. who is handling the sale of the property, said the asking price is $5.4 million. He said the city has seriously been considering an offer for the past few weeks.

The steel-and-concrete structure is built to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, specifications.

“The efficiency of the building is as good as it gets,” Ingalls said. “It’s a beautiful building and would work well as a city hall.”

The City Council is also considering building a new City Hall on the Ocean Street side of the current property.

In 2000, South Portland analyzed its space needs and hired an architect to design a new building, which would have cost $10 million. City officials scrapped the idea.

The council is also considering renovating City Hall, but some say that would be too costly.

The city spent $44,000 on repairs to the building from December 2007 to April 2010. Another $50,000 was allocated this year to replace the furnace.

Coward said City Hall is deteriorating and has significant structural and mechanical problems.

The original portion of the building became City Hall in 1931. It was expanded in 1979 to house administrative offices and the finance department.

Erik Carson, the city’s community development director, said the idea to move city offices to Waterman Drive is a good one.

“We think it’s a good first step in terms of continuing to encourage development and attention (in) the Knightville/Mill Creek area,” he said. “Getting (the building) filled would add a lot of support for businesses in the area.”

 

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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