When people mention “suburbs,” it’s not uncommon to think of quiet towns – bedroom communities – lacking the vibrancy of the nearby city that residents head off to each morning. Malden, Massachusetts, however, though only a 12-minute train commute from downtown Boston, is defying that stereotype. “Malden,” says Mayor Richard C. Howard, “is a city of opportunities” working to beautify and improve itself. Thanks in part to his long-term mayoral leadership, the city is succeeding in doing just that, particularly in the areas of schooling and housing.
The River’s Edge
Industry in Malden had peaked as late as the 1920s and ’30s, thanks to the help of various immigrant communities. By the 1950s, however, industries were shifting, and many of the immigrant communities who had helped build the city up in earlier decades began to move out. Malden began to sink into obscurity. Even its river, named after the city and vital to its industrial heyday, was almost forgottenin a thicket of overgrowth and debris.
Then in the 1990s, when it seemed the river and the city might disappear altogether, an inspiration was born. Malden and two of its neighboring towns, Everett and Medway – in spite of long-standing competition in business and sports –began to discuss a collaborative effort to regenerate the former industrial area along the river.
Enter Preotle, Lane and Associates, a visionary New York-based development company that was determined to truly revive the area for the good ofthe community, rather than attempt another run-of-the-mill office park. After years of clean-up and red tape, the cities and developers have finally gotten their enterprise, appropriately named “River’s Edge,” underway.
Impressive in scope and in detail, the 30-acre mixed-use venture has now completed the first of three phases. The first phase includes a 10-acre park, three office buildings and a luxury residence with over 220 units, 15 of which are “affordably priced,” according to the City of Malden. The park is already open to the public from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with fully accessible walking paths throughout. The residences are slated to open this year. Only minutes away from Wellington MBTA Station, the complex provides easy access to Boston and surroundingcities. The project, with two more phases to go, has already received significant awards: the Honor Design Award from Boston Society of Land-scape Architects, for Reclamation and Conservation, and the LEED Gold Pre-certification given by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).