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The Boston Globe

North

Malden

Eminent domain plan offered for hospital site

Graffiti dots the walls of the empty hospital building, as shown in 2009.

Jonathan Marvel

Graffiti dots the walls of the empty hospital building, as shown in 2009.

The long-dormant site formerly home to Malden Hospital is becoming an eyesore to some city officials who are now willing to consider taking the land by eminent domain for possible redevelopment.

Malden city councilors Craig Spadafora and John Matheson have offered a resolution asking the city to consider taking over the 21-acre parcel on Hospital Road . The site has seen a recent uptick in illegal dumping and needs to be redeveloped, Spadafora said.

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“It’s becoming more of an eyesore,” he said in a council meeting Tuesday. “If we do not start to take action as a council, it will probably sit there for another 10 years.”

The site includes the six-story hospital building, which has been vacant since the hospital closed in 1999. Hallmark Health Corp., the owner of the parcel, had a deal in place to sell it to Deaconess Abundant Life Communities of Concord in 2009, which would have turned it into an elderly housing community. But the deal fell apart.

The council tabled the resolution to consider eminent domain Tuesday, but it is expected to be raised again in the near future, when more information on the parcel is available.

Hallmark, which owns several area hospitals, including Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in Melrose and Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford, intends to continue offering the site on the open market, spokesman Richard Pozniak said.

“Hallmark Health System has been aggressively marketing the Malden Hospital property but has not yet found a buyer due to a challenging suburban real estate development market,” Pozniak said in a prepared statement.

“As we continue to offer the property for sale in the open market, we look forward to a dialogue with the mayor and the elected officials of Malden on an appropriate use of this property.”

Pozniak said the building has around-the-clock security systems, and that staff visit the site daily to deter illegal dumping and other activities.

The property has a view of the Boston skyline and Fellsmere Park as an abutter, and the land could be developed into single-family housing, green space, or other projects that would be useful for the public, City Councilor Matheson said in a phone interview.  

“For the last several years we’ve given Hallmark every opportunity to market the property. They’ve been trying for over 10 years now without success,” Matheson said. “Our feeling is that all options have to be on the table. Right now it isn’t going to any public benefit.”

The land and buildings have an assessed value of $6.1 million and are split into two parcels, 57 and 100 Hospital Road, according to city records.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JarretBencks.
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