AUGUSTA — The large and distinctive, if outdated, green former Department of Transportation maintenance facility on Capitol Street is now largely a pile of rubble.

Demolition crews with excavators and other large pieces of equipment had demolished most of the collection of industrial buildings on the site by late Friday afternoon, with only a small back portion of the structures still standing near the intersection of Capitol and Sewall streets.

The vacant buildings were torn down to make way for two new office buildings that will be built on the site for Virginia-based developer FD Stonewater by Scarborough-based contractor Landry/French Construction.

The larger of the two buildings, at 104,000 square feet, is to be leased to the state for office space; while the smaller one, at 26,000 square feet, will be occupied by the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, which now occupies the glass-and-steel building at the corner of Capitol and Sewall.

That building is still standing, for now. Plans call for it to be demolished, too, but not until the smaller of the two new buildings is ready for occupancy, at which point the approximately 90 Maine retirement system workers will move into the new building. Then the current Maine PERS building would be demolished to make space for completion of the construction of the larger new building, which will be occupied mostly by Department of Health and Human Services employees.

State officials anticipate occupying the building in July 2019.

The vehicle and equipment maintenance operations of the state transportation department that once were housed in the eight buildings there moved to a new location in north Augusta in 2014, at 66 Industrial Drive.


State employees expected to occupy the new facility, according to a letter filed with the city of Augusta from William Leet, director of the state Division of Leased Space, include 230 DHHS and Department of Administrative and Financial Services workers now located at 221 State St., 166 DHHS workers now at 242 State St., 91 DHHS workers from 19 Union St., 17 DHHS workers from the Marquardt building on the former Augusta Mental Health Institute grounds, and 17 DHHS workers from 244 Water St.

The state owns 221 and 242 State St., 19 Union St. and the Marquardt Building. It leases space at 244 Water St.

David Heidrich Jr., communications director for the state Department of Administrative and Financial Services, said 221 State St., DHHS’s current headquarters, is outdated and has reached the end of its useful life and wouldn’t be occupied by state workers after the move. He said the state is considering several new potential uses for the property. He said 242 State St., after the move, would be used as “swing space,” becoming a temporary home to state workers in other agencies as they transition to new or renovated facilities. He said different state workers will occupy the space being vacated at 19 Union St.

DHHS workers within the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, who previously were scheduled to move to the new building, will remain in their current location in Key Plaza in downtown Augusta, now that the state has reached a long-term lease agreement with the owner of that building.

The developer made changes to the design of the larger new building, including changing its exterior color from white to a darker “granite” color, with “flint” accents, following criticism of the building’s appearance.

The former main DOT building on Capitol Street was built in 1920 and meant to accommodate smaller equipment than today’s plow rigs. Part of the building is still known as the bullpen because it used to house the bulls and oxen that pulled heavy rollers used to pack down snow on roads.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj