SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Healey-Driscoll Administration issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) on Wednesday for the state to purchase property that will be used to build a new courthouse in Springfield.
Owners of property with at least two developable property acres inside the City of Springfield are encouraged to submit a proposal by January 31, 2024. After that, the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and the Massachusetts Trial Court will evaluate the submitted proposals and see if any are compatible with the following conditions:
- Site characteristics and context compatible with a new Springfield Justice Center
- Complexity and length of time of acquisition
- Acquisition costs and financial benefits to the Commonwealth
“In addition to meeting practical judicial needs, the Springfield Justice Center will be a civic monument for the local community,” said DCAMM Commissioner Adam Baacke. “We look forward to identifying the right location for this important project that will catalyze continued growth and development in the City and demonstrate our commitment to decarbonization.”
Governor Healey announced in June that the state will spend more than $106 million to replace the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in downtown Springfield. The new courthouse, currently named the ‘Springfield Justice Center’, would house the Hampden County Superior Court, the Springfield District Court, the Hampden Probate and Family Court, the Western Housing Court, the Hampden Juvenile Court, the Hampden District Attorney’s Office, and the Hampden County Registry of Deeds.
According to the state, the Springfield site assessment released in May will not impact this RFP process, which means no site has been prioritized or ruled out. The Massachusetts Trial Court will evaluate each proposal, taking a look at the site’s characteristics, and complexity, as well as costs and financial benefits to the state, further review will be conducted before purchasing the property and preparing for construction.
“The new Springfield Justice Center will further the Trial Court’s mission of delivering justice with dignity and speed,” said Trial Court Administrator Thomas Ambrosino. “We are pleased that this RFP will advance our goal of providing a state-of-the-art courthouse in Springfield to serve the third largest city in the Commonwealth and the communities of Hampden County.”
Since August of 2021, Springfield officials have been calling on the state to either completely renovate the Roderick Ireland courthouse or build a new one. Photos shared with 22News showed a serious mold issue within the building. Mold could be seen growing on walls, ceilings, books, microphones and more.
While the Massachusetts Trial Courts did temporarily shut down the building and give it a deep clean, attorneys claimed it was not enough. Proposals for a new site then were announced by the city of Springfield in hopes that the Trial Courts would build a new building. Finally, in June 2023, Healey announced that the state would spend $106 million for a new courthouse.
“We are grateful to the Healey-Driscoll Administration and DCAMM for recognizing the significance of this new courthouse to our judges, employees and court users,” said Trial Court Chief Justice Jeffrey A. Locke. “We look forward to continued partnership with DCAMM as this project progresses.”
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno tells 22News he wants to see the new courthouse built along the Connecticut River in the North End, calling the nearly 14 acre property a ‘gamechanger’ economically for the area.
“If a court house is built there, I know developers are interested in doing a mini-marina and housing,” Sarno says. “Parking would be at an abundance, well over 700 spots, spin offs of restaurants and stores. The spin-off affects would be tremendous and I am hopeful that’s where it will go.”
Currently, no site has been prioritized or ruled out. Property owners interested in applying but may have questions can submit them to DCAMM via email to email@example.com by 2:00 p.m. on December 13th.
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