At his annual State of the City Address in February, Mayor Gary Christenson announced to the pleasant surprise of many that the City of Malden was in talks with the Commonwealth to acquire the property on 89 Summer St. that formerly served as the Malden District Court. The property offers over 20,000 square feet of usable space that the city hopes can become an Arts and Culture Center for Malden residents. Since that time, Mayor Christenson and his team have been hard at work taking the steps necessary to make this goal a reality.
“For us to achieve this major goal it requires us to first achieve several smaller goals along the way,” said Christenson. “The first step in that process was having an appraisal done that would determine whether the initial acquisition was economically feasible.”
His team recently met with the state officials responsible for the disposition process and received the results of that appraisal. With an acquisition price set at $480,000 for the property and the vacant lot across the street, the city is able to move on to the next step of having the Massachusetts Legislature approve of the disposition.
After the initial announcement, Christenson established a steering committee comprised of a diverse representation of cultural organizations and artistic disciplines. The 13-member Steering Committee is charged with developing a business model for the future operation of the building. This model will address the likely users of the space and a proposed program of uses based on feedback collected from the Steering Committee and broader community engagement.
“With the acquisition price set, this next process is going to represent the biggest challenge in making this goal a reality,” said Christenson. “In talking to other cities, the challenge is always in coming up with a model that is economically viable. The team will continue to work toward that goal, while we move forward on a parallel path with the legislative process.”
The 89 Summer St. property, formerly known as the First District Court of Eastern Massachusetts, was originally built in a Colonial Revival style in 1922 with an addition added in 1938. The lot across the street from the building is .3 acres and provides parking for the building. With his update, the Mayor has provided some welcome assurance to the neighborhood that this historic property will enjoy a future as part of the Malden community.