November 27, 2017

Worcester Courthouse developers want $1.3M sale approved for tax credits

A rendering of the Trinity Financial proposal for the former Worcester County Courthouse, a $53 million apartment development.

The City Council will be asked Tuesday night to approve the $1.3-million sale of the Worcester County Courthouse to a development group to pave the way for a $53-million redevelopment project.

In a memo to the council, City Manager Edward AUgustus said the developer, Trinity Development, has completed its environmental and financial reviews of the project, but due to bills in both the U.S. House and Senate potentially eliminating or reducing federal historic tax credit programs, Trinity is pursuing the acquisition now.

"The preservation and adaptive reuse of this historic building is critical to unlocking more activity in the North Main Street/Lincoln Square area, and I look forward its successful completion," Augustus wrote.

Both of the pending bills provide grandfather rights for qualifying buildings owned as of Dec. 31.

Trinity plans to develop the 250,000-square-foot courthouse, vacant since 2008, into 114 units of rental apartments with half of the units income based and the other half market rate.

The city's Chief Development Officer Michael Traynor, in correspondence with Augustus, said last week the city reached an agreement for the property for $1.3 million including a small retail component.

The 1843 building sitting on more than four acres on Main and Highland streets has undergone several renovations and additions over the years, including a 1954 addition and 1989 renovation.

Worcester bought the courthouse from the state for $1 in 2014 in an attempt to rehab the property. Boston-based Trinity Financial, the parent company of Trinity Development, was chosen by the city in June to develop the property.

The Historical Commission approved the project last month.

The 18-month construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2018 after further city approvals.


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