State will buy new DOJ building from Duprey for $21 million

The demolition of the former Department of Justice building off of Capitol Steet is coming along on Thursday, March 28, 2024. The area will become a parking garage for the State House once it is completed.

The demolition of the former Department of Justice building off of Capitol Steet is coming along on Thursday, March 28, 2024. The area will become a parking garage for the State House once it is completed. Monitor file

The state’s Executive Council approved the anticipated purchase of a portion of the former Lincoln Financial property off Rumford Street. The state held a lease that no allows for the sale of the office building that now houses the New Hampshire Department of Justice.

The state’s Executive Council approved the anticipated purchase of a portion of the former Lincoln Financial property off Rumford Street. The state held a lease that no allows for the sale of the office building that now houses the New Hampshire Department of Justice. Monitor file

By CATHERINE McLAUGHLIN

Monitor staff

Published: 04-10-2024 7:28 PM

The state will buy the office building that has housed the Department of Justice since last year after the Executive Council approved $21 million in state money for the purchase Wednesday.

The department left its pink granite location on Capitol Street — currently being torn down to make way for a legislative parking garage — last year, and has been leasing the 106,000 square feet of office space at 1 Granite Place South, currently owned by developer Steve Duprey.

Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Charlie Arlinghaus told Executive Councilors that the state can buy the property now because it now has the option to do so through its lease agreement — an option he said was not available when it entered the lease last year. 

“We had no interest in leasing, we were forced to lease — required to lease — for a little while,” Arlinghaus said. “It is more advantageous to buy, so we’re buying.”

The complex contains north and south “towers” and a connecting atrium — the state will buy only the south tower and its attached land once some construction currently underway is complete.

The property represented more than $64,000 in property tax revenue last year, according to city records. Its appraised value is about $9.4 million. 

With the Department of Justice’s move less than a mile north, the state is working on plans to turn its 33 Capitol St. property into a new, 409-space parking garage for legislators.

City and State officials have yet to negotiate determinations for how that project will impact downtown parking for the public, including access to the garage and whether it will change the state’s usage of yellow bagged reservations of metered street spaces for legislators with mobility impairments.

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When the new garage is complete, the state will demolish the current one over Storrs Street, freeing up space long eyed by the city as ripe for future redevelopment. 

A time capsule was recovered from the cornerstone of the former Department of Justice building this week that revealed its banking past. The safe deposit box contained photos of bank staff, newspaper clippings and a laminated silver certificate.