The last time the Metropolitan District Commission needed more office space, it built a new headquarters at the corner of Main and Wells streets in the late 1970s.
Now, the company that provides water and sewer service to eight towns is looking to expand again, and has offered to buy the city-owned office building just to the south for $2.1 million.
The MDC would use the 3-story building at 525 Main St. for office space and is considering possibly adding a parking garage in back of the 30,000-square-foot structure. MDC’s current headquarters has about 60,000 square feet.
Christopher Stone, an attorney for the MDC, told me it was too soon to say whether the garage would be built or how many spaces it might encompass. It also wasn’t yet known how much the MDC might invest in renovations or the garage, Stone said.
About half of the space in upper floors at 525 Main are occupied, mostly by the city’s public works department. Ground floor tenants include a credit union, the Cornerstone Restaurant, a shoe repair shop and a police substation.
Stone told me no immediate changes would be planned for the storefront space.
The city council and the MDC’s board must still approve the deal. If that happens, the property could be transferred as soon as Oct. 31 and the MDC could begin moving in by the end of the year, Stone said.
Stone said the space would likely be used by consultants who are working for the MDC in meeting the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act.
Thomas E. Deller, the city’s development director, said the sale fits with the city’s on-going study of how to better use space for administrative offices.
Deller told me any changes to the exterior of the 1926 building would have to cleared by the historic commission and other city boards. The facade would have to be retained if a major interior reconstruction was pursued, Deller said.
Deller moved to quell worries on Facebook that the building might be torn down for another parking lot. Recent changes to city zoning regulations now prohibit demolishing a structure downtown to create a parking lot, he said.