York County Commissioners have entered into an agreement with Biddeford Housing Authority for 13,000 square feet of office space at 208 Graham Street in Biddeford to house the offices of the York County District Attorney. The staff of more than 40 is expected to move into the premises on the spring of 2023, around the time the York Judicial Center is targeted to open. Tammy Wells Photo

BIDDEFORD — The quest for a location in Biddeford for the York County District Attorney’s office and its 40-plus employees near the new York Judicial Center on Route 1 has resulted in an agreement for the county to reserve space in an office building at 208 Graham St.

York County Commissioners have inked a memorandum of agreement with Biddeford Housing Authority to reserve about 60 percent of the space, or 13,000 square feet, at the location. BHA purchased the property from HHH LLC on May 2, according to information at York County Registry of Deeds. HHH LLC had bought it in December 2020, Biddeford property records show.

“It meets the need,” said Commission Chair Allen Sicard of the office building, which is about a mile from the new court building. “We want to make sure we have a footprint in Biddeford.”

Finding a location for the District Attorney’s Office near the new York Judicial Center,  targeted to open in the spring of 2023, has been on the minds of county officials from early on. The state’s design of the building did not include room for the district attorney’s staff of 40. The alternative to a location in or near Biddeford was the district attorney’s current main office in Alfred, the county seat, 12 miles away — which county officials noted could present difficulties.

“I am pleased about the (agreement) and grateful for the support of the Commissioners on this issue,” said York County District Attorney Kathryn Slattery in an email. “While offices in the Judicial Center would have been optimal, this space in Biddeford will help us better serve the citizens of York County and the court system. The alternative of continuing to work out of the Alfred courthouse would have been a disservice to the public.”

She said she, commissioners and County Manager Greg Zinser have been working to find a location since the beginning, when it became clear there was no space at the new judicial center.


The state’s three district courts, currently located in Biddeford, Springvale and York, and the state Superior Court which sits at the county-owned courthouse in Alfred, will be consolidated in the new state-owned Biddeford building, located at 511-515 Elm St. Similar to other new court houses, the building has a designated space for use by the district attorney, about 500 square feet, according to Zinser. Slattery and her team of prosecutors are employed by the state; the support staff is employed by the county government.

Sicard told fellow commissioners on Wednesday, June 1, that the county had searched from downtown Biddeford to Arundel and had found nothing suitable. As well as offices, parking for 40 employees was needed.

Sicard said Biddeford Housing Authority Director Guy Gagnon had been at the county government offices on other business when he said, he heard the county was looking for space.

The Graham Street building, constructed in 1965, is the former location of the Biddeford office of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, which left the property in June 2019 because of what was described in a Portland Press Herald story as “the condition of the building caused by frequent flooding.”

Zinser said any past problems with the building are not a concern.

“Those issues have been or will be remediated,” said Zinser, who expressed confidence in Biddeford Housing Authority and in Gagnon.


“It will be up to code,” said Sicard.

A developer in 2021 had proposed a 72-unit market-rate apartment building on the 1.63 acre property but that would have required a contract zone because the current zone doesn’t allow for that many apartments. The proposal went nowhere — when the contract zone came to the Biddeford City Council for an endorsement in November, the council was silent.

The county is eyeing a potential lease-to-own arrangement for the 208 Graham St. property, Sicard said.

The agreement with BHA gives the county an exclusive option to lease space, and time to engage an architect to review what could be done there, said Zinser.

The commisisoners’ vote to accept the agreement was unanimous. The county will pay $4,300 a month for the space.

The York County District Attorney’s office expects to move in around April, said Zinser, about the same time the state is said to be targeting for the opening of the York Judicial Center.

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