November 29, 2017

Worcester approves $1.3M courthouse sale

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

Without any discussion, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the $1.3-million sale of the Worcester County Courthouse to developer Trinity Financial for a massive $53-million renovation of the historic building.

The sale, according to City Manager Ed Augustus, was necessary to preserve the availability of federal historic tax credits as a bill in the U.S. Senate seeks to revamp the tax code and potentially eliminate or reduce federal historic tax credit programs.

The bill, passed in the House earlier this month, now rests in the Senate. It currently includes grandfather rights for qualifying building owned as of Dec. 31.

Boston-based Trinity Financial 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.

Worcester 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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