The sprawling NorthPoint development may be the place to do it, according to City Councilor Tim Toomey.
At least one politician is looking to put the Middlesex Superior Court back where it used to be — in Cambridge.
And the sprawling NorthPoint development may be the place to do it, according to City Councilor Tim Toomey.
On Monday night, Toomey expressed his interest in looking at the mammoth East Cambridge parcel to build a new courthouse facility.
“It would be nice to have a courthouse presence back in Cambridge,” said Toomey, who’s also a state representative.
In March, the Middlesex County Superior Court moved from its Thorndike Street high-rise to a newly built 140,000-square-foot, seven-story building at 200 Trade Center in Woburn as its former 22-story home undergoes major renovations.
But chances are the hefty price tag for repairs at the Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse, which includes asbestos cleanup, building and security upgrades, and replacement of the courthouse’s aging elevators, could be too much of a burden for the court to move back.
“It’s 550,000 square feet, but not all of it is usable space,” said Middlesex Clerk of Courts Michael Sullivan.
Instead, Sullivan said building a brand-new facility in Cambridge to house all branches of the judicial system might be the route to follow.
“The idea is to be able to bring all resources under one roof,” Sullivan said.
But it won’t be for another seven years before a move is made, considering the lease in Woburn has been extended from five to seven years, according to Sullivan.
In total, more than 180 employees have moved to the newly built Woburn facility, which includes 15 courtrooms, 15 jury deliberation rooms, 22 holding cells with separate areas for men and women and record storage space.
Toomey earlier this week requested that the city explore the possibility of renegotiating NorthPoint’s special permit to include a new courthouse for Cambridge. A special permit was granted by the city in order for the project to move forward in working under specific design and zoning guidelines.
Despite being deadlocked in a Delaware court due to a dispute between developers, the riverside site has welcomed millions of square feet worth of laboratory and office space, residential units, parking spaces and open space, along with the pending relocation of the Lechmere T station.
But Toomey said the process has been “frustrating and disappointing” since the state’s Executive Office of Transportation is now footing the bill for the new station in order to prevent any construction delays. The relocation will be incorporated in the state’s project of extending the Green Line into Somerville and Medford.
Originally, officials behind the NorthPoint development agreed to build the Lechmere Green Line station off Monsignor O’Brien Highway, in exchange for obtaining the property at the existing Lechmere station.
But councilors are now questioning if that deal can be taken back because of the state’s takeover.
One fellow city councilor agreed that Cambridge should be more proactive as the site develops.
“Let’s get aggressive with this and not be blindsided,” said Councilor David Maher.