North

Malden City Hall will occupy condo in new development

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Malden City Hall is going condo.

City offices will find a new home amid sleek apartments and retail shops to be built in a $100 million development that also will reopen Pleasant Street to traffic for the first time since the early 1970s.

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Malden plans to buy 42,000 square feet of office space inside the massive development planned by Jefferson Apartment Group of Virginia for the current site of City Hall and the police station.

The city agreed to sell the buildings and 2.2 acres of land to Jefferson for $9.8 million. The developer plans to raze the buildings, reopen Pleasant Street, and build two six-story buildings.

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In all, the development will have 234 market-rate apartments, 26,000 square feet of retail space, and 276 parking spots.

The city plans to buy the office condo in the building on the north side of the street. It is the only condo property in the development.

“It’s an exciting plan,” said Mayor Gary Christenson. “And we think this is probably the first time, at least in Massachusetts, that a city hall would be part of a mixed-use development.”

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Sandi Silk, a Jefferson vice president , called the office condo “a really unique way to solve the city’s challenges.”

The project would fulfill the city’s longtime goal of reconnecting Malden Square to the Malden Center MBTA Orange Line Station. The current City Hall — a red-brick, fortress-like structure that was built to anchor a pedestrian mall that opened in the 1970s — forces traffic to go around Malden Square to reach the T station or continue on Pleasant Street toward Medford. The police station is in an adjacent building.

The current City Hall and police station will be replaced by two six-story buildings.

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The current City Hall and police station will be replaced by two six-story buildings.

Malden has long explored ways to inject life into downtown. “We’ve been looking to do this for 20 or 25 years,” Christenson said. “Now, finally, it looks like we’re here.”

City offices would be located in the building planned for the north side of Pleasant Street. There would be retail shops on the ground level, and 54 apartments on upper floors. It’s not known which floors city hall would occupy, Christenson said.

Across Pleasant Street, another six-story building will have 180 apartments, retail space, and 276 parking spaces.

“When you get off the train, the first thing you’ll see are these buildings,” Silk said. “This is truly a unique opportunity to create a wonderful development.”

The site’s proximity to the Orange Line also helped the city to land $9 million in state MassWorks grants, including $6 million awarded last month.

The grant money will help the city pay to relocate City Hall and the police station. Construction of the two new facilities is estimated to cost $30 million, according to Christenson.

The city also signed a preliminary agreement to acquire a 1.4-acre industrial parcel on Eastern Avenue, where a new police station would be built.

“We’re hoping if everything goes well, we’ll take possession by April,” Christenson said, with the goal of opening the station by the late summer or fall of 2016.

Kathy McCabe can be reached at katherine.mccabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.
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