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Cambridge Residents Contesting Plans for Sullivan Courthouse

A former courthouse in Cambridge is at the center of a controversy. Redevelopment plans for the now-closed Edward J. Sullivan Courthouse are being hotly contested by community groups as the state selected Leggat McCall Properties for the building's planned conversion, reports The Boston Business Journal.

The courthouse is state-owned property. As state property, contractors must bid to perform construction or redevelopment work on the property.

The Division of Capital Asset Management has been in charge of this process. Out of three reported finalists, the Division chose Leggat McCall.

The opponents are disputing this decision, largely based on Leggat McCall's proposed use of the building. The contractor's plans include converting the building for commercial use.

Local residents, however, had anticipated other uses for the property, such as mixed-use residential and commercial space. Specifically, residents had hoped that the old courthouse would be turned into an apartment building with retail and community space.

That's not to say that there won't be any retail on the site of the old courthouse. Leggat McCall has indicated plans to install retail space on the ground floor.

The state is defending its selection of Leggat McCall, stating that their choice hinged on the developer's financial capacity, its strength to complete the redevelopment and the purchase price paid to the state.

Despite the concerns of local residents, the state plans to move forward. The next steps involve navigating through the legalities, including executing the purchase and sale agreement and working with the city on the zoning and planning, reports WickedLocal. This process could involve quite some time, as changes in the nature of a property's use involves zoning clearance from local authorities.

There's no word yet on when the redevelopment will be complete.

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