Portland medical practices moving to former DHHS building on Marginal Way

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PORTLAND — The former Maine Department of Health and Human Services building at 161 Marginal Way is being converted to medical offices.

Peter Quesada of the Fore River Co. said Monday that the four-story building will be occupied by Portland Gastroenterology and the Maine Eye Center.

On Tuesday, Portland Gastroenterology practice administrator Melissa Gousse said the group expects to move from 1200 Congress St. by the end of the year.

“This is a big move for our practice,” Gousse said. “The location has great visibility and easy access for our patients.”

Maine Eye Center has office space on the third floor at 1685 Congress St. in Stroudwater, with its main office at 15 Lowell St., between Congress and Park streets. Calls to the practice about the move were not returned.

The companies will each occupy two floors, and Quesada said he anticipates Maine Eye Center will move in shortly after Portland Gastroenterology.

“The whole plan is to do this in stages over weekends, so we don’t interrupt business at all,” Gousse said.

DHHS moved to a new building on Jetport Drive in South Portland in spring 2015, and Quesada said the new tenants signed leases about a year ago.

“We were pretty confident we were going to get it filled,” Quesada said. “The reason is, the building has a lot of on-site parking and the alternative is downtown parking on the street or in garages.”

The move by DHHS from Marginal Way was a contentious decision opposed by former Mayor Michael Brennan and members of the city’s delegation to the Legislature.

The decision was made to move from Lancaster Street to the 82,000-square-foot Jetport State Building, in conjunction with the Department of Labor and Worker’s Compensation Board, to consolidate services.

Gousse said the practice already had a move in mind before the Marginal Way space became available.

“We were already in the phase of figuring out how to expand our practice; we have just outgrown the space we are in,” she said.

Portland Gastroenterology gains 10,000 square feet with the move, which Gousse said will accommodate more physicians for the growing practice and improved care for patients.

“It helps bring our surgery center into a much better place for meeting regulatory standards for patients,” she said.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

The former Department of Health and Human Services office at 161 Marginal Way, Portland, is being converted to medical offices.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.