SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 28, 2013

Salem closer to acquiring court buildings

SALEM — The Salem Redevelopment Authority has approved a tentative agreement with the state to acquire two court buildings.

Although the document is being reviewed by state agencies and is not expected to be finalized and signed for several weeks, the agreement sets the stage for another significant phase in the redevelopment of Federal Street’s courthouse row.

The two court buildings in the agreement — the District Court on Washington Street and the Superior Court/County building on Federal Street — have been vacant since the opening of the J. Michael Ruane Judicial Center two years ago.

Although the buildings are being heated, local officials and historic activists are concerned about their condition and have urged the state to act quickly to reuse them. The Superior Court, with its historic law library, is of special concern.

The SRA hopes to have documents reviewed and signed so that a request for proposals from developers can go out soon, likely early next year, according to Planning Director Lynn Duncan.

“We’re going to do that as fast as we can,” said Robert Mitnik, chairman of the SRA.

While the future use of those buildings is only speculation at this point, SRA officials appear eager to take on the challenge in the wake of their success with the redevelopment of the old Salem Jail, which the city acquired from the state for $1. It was turned over to a private developer who converted the old jail to housing and a restaurant. Although the restaurant recently closed, there are plans to open a new restaurant.

A few years ago, when the state conducted a survey to see if other state agencies had an interest in the vacant courts, the only response was a general expression of interest from Salem State University. The college still has its eye on the Superior Court building and now even has a use in mind.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Comments Tracker