A burning question re: the old Sullivan Courthouse on Thorndike Street in East Cambridge could be answered on Wednesday night: Will any of it be redeveloped into apartments? Or will it, in fact, be all commercial and retail as the chosen re-developer proposed? Said re-developer, Leggat McCall, selected by the state in December, is expected to unveil its plans at a meeting of the East Cambridge Planning Team, a vociferous critic of the firm's plans to redo the Sullivan Courthouse as largely an office building.
The original Leggat McCall plans call for 500,000 square feet of office space, using all of the tower and half of the base, with everything left over as retail and amenity space. There would also be a park, a health club, a small grocery store and up to 100 parking spaces. But! No apartments, which has thoroughly rankled some Cantabrigians all too aware of their city's chronic housing shortage.
The critics have not let up since the state selected Leggat McCall at the end of last year—over developers who had proposed housing for part of the courthouse—and they have apparently gained traction, with the developer in February hinting it would not be adverse to some housing above the base. The state, for its part, shows no signs of reneging on the deal with Leggat McCall; and a portion of the asbestos-ridden building used as a jail would be cleared out as redevelopment moves forward.
Given the fluidity of this whole process, including the facts that the state gave a thumb's-down to all of the original proposals and that the selection/execution dates for a deal have shifted, we wouldn't be stunned if apartments popped up, at least partially, in place of the old courthouse. Whether it's enough to dent Cambridge's shortage, that's for the court to decide, the court of history. Yeah.
· Leggat McCall, Secure in Courthouse Developer Role, May Reveal Plan for Housing [Day]
· Patrick Administration to Stick with Leggat McCall for Courthouse Redo [Biz Journal]
· At Least Some Apartments for the Sullivan Courthouse? [Curbed Boston]
· Killer Vus! Inside East Cambridge's Sullivan Courthouse [Curbed Boston]
· Sullivan Courthouse Pitches: Same Bat Channel, Same Bat Time [Curbed Boston]
· NIMBYs and YIMBYs in Cambridge Hone Their Messages [Curbed Boston]