The Lowell Sun | By Grant Welker
September 23, 2016
LOWELL — The city’s new courthouse complex is expected to do more than provide more spacious facilities for jurors, prosecutors, defense attorneys and others.
Lowell has big goals for the building about to rise by the Lord Overpass at the southern end of the Hamilton Canal District.
The massive building, the Lowell Justice Center, is expected to be an anchor of sorts for the district, which has mostly languished for the eight years since an ambitious master plan was unveiled. Officials see a potential need for new offices for attorneys and others who would want to be close to the new courthouse complex.
Less tangibly, it is seen as a seven-story glass-and-granite beacon for those entering downtown from the Lowell Connector and a signal of the neighborhood’s resurgence.
“I love the fact that it’s in the Hamilton Canal District,” Gov. Charlie Baker said at a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday afternoon. “I think this has a tremendous potential to be more than just a courthouse.”
Construction, which will begin in earnest next month, is expected to take until November 2019.
For such a major project, with a price tag of $200 million, there was a deep list of people who spoke, with dozens of other city officials, lawyers, court workers and others.
The chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Ralph D. Gants, recalled a hot summer day working in a first-floor courtroom at the District Court on Hurd Street.