Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno criticized a state plan to lease courthouse space as it renovates the ailing Roderick L. Ireland Courthouse on State Street. Sarno said the plan is too expensive and does not include economic spinoff benefits a commercial plan developer Peter Pickenelly is proposing would . Picknelly is shown discussing his plan with Sarno Thursday.
SPRINGFIELD — Mayor Domenic J. Sarno on Saturday criticized the state’s seven-year plan to lease a 172,000 square-foot facility as it renovates the ailing Roderick L. Ireland courthouse, calling it mind-boggling.
The state Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance Friday issued a request for proposal (RFP) for leased facilities for up to seven years as part of a $170 million renovation of the mold-contaminated courthouse. The lease would allow all court operations to move out of the current courthouse as it is renovated.
That RFP comes just one day after developer Peter Picknelly unveiled his plan for a $475 million project to build a new courthouse as part of a 14-acre residential, retail and entertainment development along the Connecticut River shore in the downtown.
Sarno said the state’s plan makes no financial sense and does not include the economic benefits the Picknelly plan would bring to the city.
“To expend this amount of money, which in essence would be nearly 2/3 of what it would take to build a new state-of-the-art courthouse within four years and creating a tremendous spinoff component of economic development projects boggles my mind. I can understand doing what needs to be done short-term for the current courthouse, but the employees, patrons and our residents deserve a new courthouse in Springfield,” Sarno said. “It makes no financial sense nor is it timely or cost effective.”
Picknelly’s plan is to use 14 acres of property his company controls near the Peter Pan operations off East Columbus Avenue.
The proposal includes a large residential apartment building and marina, retail locations and a state-of-the-art courthouse.
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