SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

August 22, 2013

Salem Probate Court project to start next year

(Continued)

The state pays $645,000 a year in rent at Shetland Park, Galvin said.

Galvin pointed to an agreement reached in 2007 among state and city officials to make every effort to move the registry back to District Court. He wants to stick to that or, if it proves unfeasible, to find another public property.

Although Galvin said he wants to keep the registry in Salem and near Probate Court, he said he would consider moving it to a public building somewhere else in the city or in another community to save the taxpayers money.

“Public space trumps everything,” he said.

Whether District Court is a good site for the registry appears unclear. A state-commissioned study a few years ago raised questions about the cost of renovating that building.

Meanwhile, Keenan and Lovely hope these issues can be resolved soon so their legislation can move forward. Keenan said he believes there would be outside interest in the court buildings from private developers and others if they were turned over to the SRA for redevelopment.

Salem State University has shown some interest in Superior Court, he said.

Keenan said there is a “fair amount” of interest from private developers in the District Court property. “My sense is whoever goes there is going to tear that thing down,” he said.

Lovely noted that this is a good time to try to do something with those buildings. The new courthouse is open, a new commuter rail station is under construction and other developments are waiting in the wings.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.

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