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August 23, 2017

Augusta board OKs Capitol Street office complex

The Augusta Planning Board reluctantly approved a plan for two new office buildings on Capitol Street a block from the State House, partially on land that for decades housed the Department of Transportation maintenance garage and lot.

The Kennebec Journal reported the Planning Board debated the proposal by Virginia-based developer FD Stonewater for more than three hours before approving it, contingent on the developer making design changes.

Critics at Tuesday night's meeting cited aesthetics and traffic concerns, among other issues.

The three-story, 104,000-square-foot building as well as a 26,000-square-foot building would be built on the former DOT site at 109 Capitol St. and adjacent land at the corner of Capitol and Sewall streets. The entire area comprises 10.5 acres and would also include green space and 619 parking spots. Most of the space would be leased to the state for offices for the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Stonewater won the bid on the project from the state earlier this year, and plans to partner with Scarborough-based Landry/French Construction, which built the office building near the Portland International Jetport that's leased to the DHHS and Department of Labor, the Kennebec Journal reported in January.

The DOT moved out of the building in October 2014 to a site in north Augusta and at the time officials said they were hoping the prominent site would draw a high-profile project. The state since shifted to a plan for state office space on the site, owned by an outside developer and leased back to the state, so it would generate property tax revenue.

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