Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Future uses of Worcester Superior Court

The December 20, 2010 issue of Banker & Tradesman has an article (subscribers only)about the pending auction of the Worcester Superior Courthouse. Generations of lawyers from Greater Lowell are undoubtedly familiar with that building which sits high on a hill on Main Street in Worcester's Lincoln Square. Several years ago, the building became vacant when a new courthouse was constructed for all court activities and the Worcester Registry of Deeds moved into leased space in the former Worcester Galeria Mall.

The Division of Capital Asset Management, the state agency responsible for all state-owned property, will hold an auction on January 19, 2011 with a minimum bid of $100,000 for a building assessed at $4.1 million. City of Worcester planners hope that the successful bidder will choose one of three development strategies: (1) a small business incubator; (2) a museum or other cultural site; or (3) housing. Because of the intricacies of developing such a unique space, however, there is fear that the only option may be to raze the entire structure.

People in Lowell should watch the outcome of this auction and subsequent development very closely. When the new Judicial Center in Lowell is ultimately built, the current Superior Courthouse, set on one of the gateways into the city, will undergo the same process as the Worcester Courthouse now faces. Perhaps there are some lessons we can learn.

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