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October 12, 2021

Major Augusta lease to house Inland Fisheries & Wildlife

Courtesy / The Boulos Co. The building at 353 Water St. in Augusta, new home to the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, has water views and is on the Kennebec Rail Trail.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife will consolidate offices into one sprawling  Augusta headquarters where it will be able to hold public hearings onsite and even provide fishing demonstrations on the Kennebec River.

The 43,000-square-foot office space lease, at 353 Water St. in Augusta, is the largest central Maine lease transaction since the start of the pandemic, said Nick Lucas, the associate broker at the Boulos Co. who brokered the transaction. The building is owned by Ed Gall Real Estate. 

Inland Fisheries & Wildlife said it leased the building under a five-year contract. Terms of the lease were not disclosed.

The building, on the Kennebec Rail Trail with views of the river, will allow the department to consolidate four offices into one space. It will combine three offices in Augusta and move some staff from a fourth office in Bangor, said Mark Latti, communications director for the department.

“The size and location allow us to consolidate four offices, consolidate our services into a central place, hold public hearings there, let different stakeholder groups meet there, and we’ll even get to do fishing demonstrations on the river there,” Latti said.

The department aims to start moving the week of Oct. 18, Latti said.

The building was formerly home to the Maine State Housing Authority and has been vacant for about a year, said Lucas.

“The location is a no-brainer. It’s a stone’s throw from the state house. It’s right on the river. It’s perfect for Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. You literally have eagles flying overhead and sturgeon jumping out of the river,” Lucas said.

Initially, the department was looking at smaller spaces of about 20,000 square feet.

“They realized very quickly that they needed even more space than they initially thought,” Lucas said. 

The location on Water Street has 5,000 square feet of storage space with garage doors that will allow the department to keep files and other materials, Lucas said. It also has many private offices, conference rooms and ample parking, he said. 

“The process moved quickly. It took about a month or two. Once they realized how much space they needed, this was a perfect fit,” Lucas said.

The transaction may also show that the need for physical office space is not disappearing.

“In addition to being a significant lease transaction, it could also signal a changing tide in the office market,” said Christopher Stephenson, vice president of operations and marketing at the Boulos Co. “Despite difficulties of the pandemic and nuances of hybrid remote work models, companies are realizing that they still need their office, as groups aim to secure stability, convenience, and great amenities for their employees.”

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