AUGUSTA — The former MaineGeneral hospital campus on East Chestnut Street has its first tenant, though it will only be occupying a small section of the large old hospital building.

The University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Policy will lease the 10,000-square-foot brick Haynes building just behind the former main hospital building, and 2,000 square feet of space for classrooms in the main building, according to the owner and developer of the site, Dirigo Capital Advisors.

Kevin Mattson, president of the firm, said there has been a lot of interest from potential tenants for the 317,000-square-foot former hospital building across the Kennebec River from the capital city’s downtown.

He said the company is in discussions with a couple of different tenants and “if it all works out, by the end of the year, it’ll be 50 percent (leased out) at least.”

He said the redevelopment of the property is going faster than he expected.

The Muskie School is based at USM’s Portland campus but also has offices in leased space in the Central Maine Commerce Center in north Auguata off Civic Center Drive. Those Augusta operations, but not the entire Portland-based school, will move to the Haynes Building.

Another tenant already at the Commerce Center is expected to expand into the space the Muskie School will vacate. Mattson leads the group that owns both properties.

The school will be the first tenant in what Mattson, his partners and city officials hope will be a major redevelopment of the former hospital site into new uses.

The building was most recently used by MaineGeneral as administrative offices.

He said the Muskie School will move in on or about July 1. Construction to renovate the space for the school is underway now.

City officials welcome the development at the three-story Haynes building, which was built in 1910 as the nurses’ quarters for the hospital.

“The Muskie School will be coming to that facility, so that’s a big piece of news, I think,” said Mayor William Stokes. “It’s good to get tenants in there.”

Mattson, in a video posted on YouTube announcing the deal, which closed Tuesday, says it is a “tremendous win-win for the city of Augusta and USM.”

Keith Edwards can be contacted at 621-5647 or at:

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Twitter: @kedwardskj