J Malden Center
FInalist: Best Mid-Rise Apartment Community; Finalist: Best Mixed-Use Community
Nominated by: Jefferson Apartment Group
Location: Malden, Mass.
Developer: Jefferson Apartment Group
Architect: CBT Architects
General Contractor: Callahan
Interior Designer: Stantec
Photographer: Shupe Studios, Andy Ryan Photography & LCP360
Project Website: J Malden Center
J Malden Center is the culmination of a seven-year partnership between the city of Malden, Mass., and Jefferson Apartment Group (JAG). In the early 1970s, Malden’s Government Center was built as a monument to brutalist architecture intended to anchor one end of a pedestrian mall on Pleasant Street, the heart of Malden’s retail shopping district. The planned department store anchor at the opposite end of the street never materialized, and that failure, combined with the advent of the indoor shopping mall, brought about the gradual decline of Malden Center. In 1975, the new City Hall and Police Station were opened as Malden’s Government Center, and the Malden Center MBTA station opened, bringing the subway and commuter rail to Malden Center. For years, the city and commonwealth tried to reinvigorate Malden Center with subsidized housing and government office buildings amid other economic development efforts. In 2013, after years of study, the city awarded the properties to JAG after a thorough request for proposal process. J Malden Center has transformed Malden Center by removing the barrier previously created by the City Hall, Police Station and elevated plaza; and managing significant grade changes to create a seamless pedestrian and vehicular connection between the retail corridor and the transit station. Working creatively and collaboratively with the city to leverage the commonwealth’s MassWorks program — which provided financial support to the city for the relocation of both the Police Station and City Hall, as well as the commonwealth’s Housing Development Incentive Program, which promotes the creation of market-rate housing in economically emerging communities — JAG and the city of Malden reinvigorated the gateway to Malden Center. The result is an iconic and unique mixed-use project featuring 320 residential units, 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, a mix of public and residential parking, and a new City Hall for Malden.