AUGUSTA — The sale of the Kennebec Journal’s building to a mental health agency has fallen through, say newspaper and agency officials.

Crisis & Counseling and the Kennebec Journal signed a purchase-and-sale agreement in November and expected to close the deal by the end of January. But Crisis & Counseling determined it couldn’t afford to make the upgrades and modifications it needed at the newspaper’s building at 274 Western Ave., said Lynn Duby, the agency’s CEO.

“What we did is a lot of work in our due diligence process to see if the building was going to meet our needs and fit within our budget,” Duby said. “When we finally got all of that work done, it was clear it wasn’t going to be a good fit for us financially.”

Crisis & Counseling has been searching for a new location for a more than a year, to leave its offices at 32 Winthrop St. and make way for an expansion of Kennebec County courts.

Crisis & Counseling’s real estate broker, Chris Paszyc, said in November that the agency toured 10 properties that fit its size requirement of 25,000 to 30,000 square feet. The Kennebec Journal building is 53,000 square feet and was last assessed at $3.3 million.

Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel CEO Dale Duncan said the newspaper will put its building back on the market and proceed with its move to leased offices at 36 Anthony Ave., in north Augusta.

Duncan said the company isn’t discouraged about finding a buyer for the site. “It’s obviously surrounded by some of the most prime retail property in central Maine,” he said.

The Kennebec Journal is selling the property it has occupied since 1961 and moving to smaller quarters because the newspaper is no longer printed on site and has a smaller staff.

MaineToday Media, the newspaper’s owner, consolidated all press operations at its printing plant in South Portland in late 2009. MaineToday also owns The Portland Press Herald and the Morning Sentinel in Waterville.

For now, Duncan said, MaineToday Media can sustain the expense of leasing offices and maintaining the Western Avenue property.

“It’s obviously an expense we’d rather not have,” he said. “That just sometimes happens when you’re trying to sell a piece of property.”

Duby said Crisis & Counseling is still negotiating the purchase-and-sale agreement on its building with the state court system. That’s the sale that would allow the court’s expansion.

Mary Ann Lynch, director of court information for the Maine Judicial Branch, said the court system will continue negotiations with Crisis & Counseling once the agency has found another location, she said.