NORRISTOWN >> The Montgomery County Commissioners Friday approved moving the district court in Skippack to Harleysville for more space at a lower cost.
“This district court is currently located in Skippack, Pa., and includes the magisterial districts of Lower Salford, Skippack, Worcester, Schwenksville and Perkiomenville. And as Jan. 1 of this year, that magisterial district was expanded to include Souderton, Franconia and the Telford Borough section of Montgomery County,” Deputy Court Administrator Denise Vicario explained to the commissioners on Friday.
“It was the commitment of the district court team to move this court so it would be more centrally located to the magisterial district area.”
The district courthouse of District Judge Albert Augustine, currently on the 2400 block of Bridge Road in Skippack, will be moved to the 800 block of Harleysville Pike in Harleysville.
“It will be a new court, it will be fitted out to our specifications and it is a reduced cost to what we are currently paying for rent at our current facility,” Vicario said.
She said it will be easier to access for the area the court covers, though public transportation in the area is limited.
Vicario said the court will be in use by November at the latest.
In Skippack, the county is currently paying $21.50 per square foot for 3,318 square feet. The proposed lease renewal in the Skippack office would have the county pay $26.50 per square foot, equaling $87,927 by the end of the year.
The county’s agreement with Hoff Properties, the owners of the building in Harleysville, is a 15-year lease with rent starting at $18.61 per square foot for 3,762 square feet. By the end of the first year, the county will pay $70,596 in rent.
“The Harleysville facility is currently part of a larger empty shell space (formerly Keller’s Butter building and a furniture store). In addition to the DJ (District Judge) office going in, the plans are for additional commercial/warehousing space,” county Director of Communications Frank Custer said Friday in an email.
Commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro praised Vicario for her work in finding a better facility for the district court.
“You’ve done an excellent job of trying to reduce the cost of many of these leases that we’ve been shackled with for some time,” Shapiro said. “This is yet another example of you being able to save costs on the back end, but also being able to give those on the front end—those coming into court—a better experience with a nicer facility and proper space.”
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correct the name of Hoff Properties.