Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Courthouse Update, April 2007

Former Rifkin law offices on Federal St.

The houses on the corner of Federal and North, including the Rifkin law office shown above, will be demolished in the next week or two.

John Donahue had wanted this building to put on a lot of his on Federal Street Margin St.  but a neighbor sued to prevent that.  (No surprise here.)  So the building, and two others, will go down.  I will have pictures.

The design of the courthouse will be tweaked:

In related news, Mayor Kim Driscoll, state Rep. John Keenan and representatives from several preservation and neighborhood groups met privately in Boston yesterday with the architect for the $106 million courthouse. Many of them had expressed concerns about the size and design of the proposed J. Michael Ruane Judicial Center.

Architect Joan Goody of the Boston firm Goody Clancy unveiled sketches yesterday showing a slightly smaller building with more attention to the rear, or Bridge Street side, of the courthouse, according to several people at the meeting.

"The feedback at the meeting was overwhelmingly positive," Driscoll said.

"I think she made a strong argument that the design ... of this new project is consistent with Salem's architectural history," Keenan said

I've written about and photographed the Bridge St. side of the court complex before.  Of all the conceptual drawings I've seen, there are none of that side of the complex, of "my" side.  There's only the model, which was at the July  2007 meeting (but not the March meeting):

The view in real life would be high in the air over the North River looking south.  My building would be almost two blocks "east" of the model.  I remember looking at the model and crouching down to envision the view at Ash St., but I don't think I have a photo of it. 

People at the March meeting made much of the 91 foot height of the complex at Bridge St.  I would notice it over the existing rear of the building (seen at the lower center) but I'm not sure if I would object.

As an example, next door, the owners of 10 Federal blotted out the sunlight in my apartment by building three stories on top of the existing two story building right next door to me.  (My living room overlooks the building.)

There are no residential buildings on Federal St. that are as close to the court complex as I am to 10 Federal. 

So I can't get excited about 91 feet.

The next spin of the plans is to be presented in a month.  I just ask that Polly Wilbert and her Federal St. cronies bear in mind that shouting the same two talking points and then accusing the state of cutting off discussion after numbing everyone's brain for three hours is not the way of getting one's point across.  Besides, she got a "private meeting" with the architect, more than any of us have gotten!  (The Salem Commission on Disabilities will be standing in line for that, thanks!)

Salem News: Demolition looms for Salem's Federal Street buildings

Update:  Corrected the site that one demolished building was to be moved to.  John Donahue had wanted to move that house to Margin St.  I love to harsh on the "Federal Street Meanies" but credit where credit is due.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John Donahue had planned to move one of the houses from the new courthouse site to his lot on Summer (not Federal) street.

So it wasn't the big bad meanies on Federal St. who sued to prevent it from happening, but rather his neighbors near Summer Street.