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DA to move to Bank Row by Jan.1

  • The long-vacant Abercrombie Building on Bank Row is being renovated to become the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. Recorder Staff

  • SULLIVAN



Recorder Staff
Monday, July 17, 2017

GREENFIELD — The long-vacant Abercrombie Building on Bank Row that is getting a $2 million makeover will become the new, three-story home to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office by Jan. 1.

District Attorney David E. Sullivan confirmed that the state has signed a 10-year lease for the full building, which will give the public and law officials better access to the Greenfield office, near the Franklin County Courthouse.

For now, the DA’s office on Conway Street has been moved to the second floor, because the building has been sold and is being renovated for the Center of Human Development for a new medical services facility. Much of what used to be in the first-floor office is now stacked in boxes, ready for the move.

The Abercrombie Building was built in the 1880s, and Sullivan sees the restoration and revitalization of it as “part of the downtown renaissance,” he said.

“It will really be a great improvement, along with the (John Olver) Transportation Center,” said Sullivan. “Our priority was for victims of crime to have easy access to our building, and this has access to buses. It’s close to the transportation center and to the court.”

He said the three-story brick building will provide office space for about 35 employees, including the district attorney staff and the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit. Also, specialized services that are used by both the Franklin and Hampshire, such as Consumer Protection and the Domestic Violence services, will also have space to work here.

The building will also have a meeting space for training sessions for law enforcement or domestic task forces, said Sullivan.

“I’m thrilled that we found a space accessible to the community,” he said.

The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office is one of only two in the state that have jurisdiction over more than one county. This office serves Hampshire and Franklin counties along with Athol, located in Worcester County.

Building co-owner Jerry Guidera said the building bid was one of 11 that had submitted to the state Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance for the project.

Besides the convenient location of the new building, the District Attorney’s Office “was attracted by the idea we would be able to secure enough investment for a $2 million renovation,” Guidera said.

“I really do see it as an effort by the DA to support downtown revitalization of Greenfield.”

Mowry & Schmidt of Greenfield is the general contractor for the renovation. When finished, it will be fully handicapped-accessible, and some of its historic details will remain intact. For instance, the loading dock at the front entrance will be left, but a railing will be put around it, with a few steps leading to the front entrance. Guidera said they are looking at ways to incorporate renewable energy, through solar panels, into the renovation; however, they are also committed to preserving the historic characteristics of the building.