BANGOR, Maine — The city’s post office will move back downtown on Halloween and open Nov. 1 at the former District Court building on Hammond Street now that U.S. Postal Service officials have signed a 20-year lease with Penobscot County.
Commissioners are expected to sign the document at their regular meeting next week.
The postal service will pay the county $74,178 a year for 5,700 square feet of space through July 11, 2015, the lease states. The rent will increase to $85,590 beginning July 12, 2020, and go up to $91,290 on July 12, 2025. The lease will expire on July 11, 2029.
“We’re very pleased that we’ve received the final lease signed and executed by the Postal Service,” Commissioner Peter Baldacci said Tuesday. “We’re happy with the progress of the renovations to the building and believe it will be an excellent addition to downtown.”
Efforts to reach the Postal service representative in Maine Tuesday were unsuccessful.
The Postal Service, which is paying for renovations to the former courthouse located at 73 Hammond St., agreed to make a one-time payment of $60,000 to the county for the preliminary work such as a traffic study and asbestos removal, the lease states.
The county will spend about $100,000 to renovate the building.
“Our job has been to try to lessen the tax burden on the citizens of Penobscot County,” County Administrator Bill Collins said Tuesday. “We’ve done that and we’ve revitalized, modernized and made more energy-efficient a facility in downtown Bangor. We may have less income than we had, but we don’t have an empty building generating no income.”
In addition to the Postal Service, the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross also will rent space in the former courthouse beginning Oct. 15. The Red Cross, which is separate from the organization’s blood collection operation at 900B Hammond St., now is located on Target Industrial Circle off outer Hammond Street.
The Red Cross will pay $49,500 a year for 4,500 square feet of space, Collins said. The organization’s lease is for two years. The Maine Department of Probation pays about $31,000 a year for space in the section of the building that fronts Franklin Street. It has been a tenant for more than a decade.
The county’s new rental income of about $125,000 will not replace the $140,000 in rent the judiciary paid for the space annually. Bangor District Court moved in November 2009 to the Penobscot Judicial Center on Exchange Street.
Renovations on the second floor of the Penobscot County Courthouse should be completed by the end of November, Collins said. Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office will move into that space and the annex, where the office now is located, will be used by Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department.
What to do with the third-floor courtroom has not been decided, Collins said. Potentially, that space could generate additional rental income.
The downtown post office, which was located in the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building for more than 40 years, closed its lobby at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 29, after its lease with the U.S. General Services Administration expired. It moved temporarily to Broadway Shopping Center.
The post office had been located in the federal building at 202 Harlow St. since 1968. Before that, it was housed in what is now Bangor City Hall.