Plans have been unveiled to convert the old Middlesex Courthouse in East Cambridge, Mass. into a mixed-use facility for office, apartment, and retail space. Leggat McCall Properties wants to completely renovate the 22-story building after winning a bid to purchase it from the state last year. Construction could begin in early 2014 on the $200 million project, pending approvals.
The renovated building with 18 floors of offices (totaling 460,000 sf) will stand out for its unusual open air windows, landscaped open spaces, and collection of locally based retailers at street level. Under the plan, 24 apartments would be added to the lower floors, but Leggat executives said they remain flexible on the number of units, perhaps a signal to local residents and commercial enterprises who want to see a larger residential profile. Opened in 1974, the courthouse towers over the neighboring low-rise commercial and residential buildings. Laden with asbestos, its interior became so dilapidated that court operations had to be moved to suburban Woburn in 2008.