For Immediate Release: 3/19/2015 3:14 pm
Worcester, MA (March 19, 2015) - City Manager Edward Augustus announced today that the City has reached an agreement to sell the former Worcester County Courthouse to a New Hampshire-based developer for $1.2 million.
Brady Sullivan Properties, LLC, a $750 million company with a proven track record of historical rehabilitation, plans to convert the building into a projected 115 market rate residential apartments with 3,000 square-feet of retail space. The entire building will be preserved and renovated.
The company has indicated there is no plan to seek public funding for the project. The entire rehabilitation will be funded by private investment monies provided by the company, potentially supplemented by historic tax credit incentives that may be available for the property.
The agreement needs City Council approval. It will be on the agenda at the March 24th meeting.
"This is a huge win for the City of Worcester," said City Manager Augustus. "I'm pleased we were able to preserve this beautiful historic building and put it on our tax rolls so quickly. The redevelopment of this iconic landmark will pave the way for even more development in North Main Street."
The former courthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, consists of about 250,000 square-feet located on 4.28 acres at Main and Highland Streets. Its development will continue the positive growth of recent years in the North Main neighborhood.
"This is a huge step forward for the revitalization of Lincoln Square and the North Main Street area," said the City's Chief Development Officer, Michael E. Traynor. "With this project, we will continue to build on the momentum of the highly successful Voke Lofts Apartments, adding even more vibrancy and life to the area."
Brady Sullivan is a highly qualified developer of historic properties, most recently receiving a State of Rhode Island Historic Preservation Award in 2014. The company's primary focus is rehabilitation of historic properties for residential use and its current residential portfolio consists of over 1,500 residential units. The company is currently completing an historic renovation of the Junction Shops Mill in Worcester.
"We are very excited to have the opportunity to rehabilitate the courthouse which we consider to have tremendous potential for residential units. It is a beautiful, well-built structure that Brady Sullivan is committed to preserving as an historic landmark," said Shane Brady, principal of Brady Sullivan. "We are also happy to have the opportunity to create jobs during the course of the project and to create beautiful apartments for in-town living. We expect that the courthouse will contain some of our most impressive living spaces."
The City took over the vacant former courthouse, 2 Main Street, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for $1 on August 6, 2014. The State tried for more than five years to find a buyer for the property, but was unable to attract interest.
Thanks to the administration of then-Governor Deval Patrick and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, as part of the City's purchase of the property, the State agreed to provide a $3 million grant for environmental remediation and demolition work. As noted, Brady Sullivan does not want any of the building demolished. The City will conduct the planned environmental remediation work, and the date of the final conveyance of the property will depend on how long that work takes.
The City and the State will split the net proceeds of the sale.
A redevelopment plan must be submitted to Massachusetts Historical Commission, Preservation Worcester and the Worcester Historical Commission for their review and a consultation period of no more than 30 days. The City's agreement with Brady Sullivan also requires a plan for the preservation and conservancy of the General Charles Devens Civil War Memorial/Equestrian statue.
Brady Sullivan estimates a 12 – 14 month construction period.
The company has agreed to use best efforts to hire 50% of its construction labor force from qualified local companies or from qualified companies with apprenticeship programs.