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About the only thing the Sullivan building seemed to have going for it was its location, near the green line Lechmere T station and close to the shops of the Cambridgeside Galleria and the restaurants along Cambridge Street.
As the Middlesex Superior Court was getting ready for its move to Woburn, clerk magistrate Michael Sullivan—a former Cambridge city councilor—told the Boston Globe that people were “excited about having a building where the heat works in winter and the air conditioning works in summer, and you can actually open the windows.” The Cambridge courthouse was built during an era when a stark architectural style aptly called “brutalist” was in vogue, the best local example being the often disparaged Boston City Hall.
But it remained open because the state’s surging inmate population meant Di Paola could find few other places to hold the prisoners. In the wake of the jail flooding, which required the evacuation of a substantial portion of the inmate population, DCAM Deputy Director Kevin Flanagan indicated that the state may be ready to give up on the building altogether.
“There are no renovations going on at the Sullivan building, nor are there imminent plans to start the renovation work,” Flanagan told the Cambridge Chronicle.
On any list of Cambridge eyesores, the Sullivan high-rise is likely to score near the top.