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Sullivan Courthouse Fight: All This for 24 Apartments?

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The fight over redeveloping the old Sullivan Courthouse at 40 Thorndike Street in East Cambridge has been grinding since late 2012, when developer Leggat McCall won a state O.K. to convert the 22-story tower to office and retail space, including a health club and a small grocery store. Community opposition to the all-commercial plan soon, however, drove the developer to add 24 apartments. Then community opposition led the developer to agree to chop two floors from its plans. It appeared things might be moving forward following those concessions. Now! Members of that same community have sued the developer, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Cambridge Planning Board to stop the significantly tweaked project cold.

The lawsuit in Mass. Land Court was brought by four property owners who abut the courthouse site. They claim, among other things, that the redevelopment would "impair the integrity of the district and the adjoining district" and "cause substantial detriment." (The entire lawsuit can be read here. A similar lawsuit, by another abutter, has also been filed; it is expected to be consolidated with the other suit.) The plaintiffs also cite the wind and shadows the current courthouse causes as well as the noise that the redeveloped building's "increased traffic and deliveries" will spawn. Basically, they say, Leggat McCall's plans are too big and intrusive for the area. What else is new? The abutters are asking the Land Court to nix an Oct. 30 Planning Board decision to grant a special permit for the long-in-coming conversion. Stay tuned.
· Legal Appeal Filed Against City Approval for East Cambridge Courthouse Project [Day]
· East Cambridge's Sullivan Courthouse: Yeah, Apartments [Curbed Boston]
· Sullivan Courthouse Developer Willing to Chop Some Floors [Curbed Boston]
· Sullivan Courthouse Redevelopment Kind of Moves Forward [Curbed Boston]
· Cambridge's Sullivan Courthouse, Always With the Controversy [Curbed Boston]
· Harbor Towers: 600 Feet High, Are You Crazy? This Is Boston! [Curbed Boston]
· Our Arrested Development archive [Curbed Boston]

Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse

Thorndike Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02141