By Diti Kohli
As the reconstruction of Malden City Hall enters its its final year, details on time of completion, parking, and security are now emerging.
The exact finishing date of the new Malden city hall cannot be confirmed until the city acquires the building’s shell, according to a city official. The goal is to open the building by late 2019 or early 2020.
Ron Hogan, director of the parking department and member of the municipal building committee, said the city “anticipates taking possession of the building sometime in the early April time frame.” Until then, individual offices cannot be built.
Initially, the city reported they would acquire possession in March with the goal to finish construction by November 2019.
The demolition of the previous city hall, which was built in the 1970s, will reconnect the two ends of Pleasant Street and provide access to the MBTA Station at Malden Center.
The new buildings, developed by Jefferson Apartment Group, will be an eclectic mix of commercial, residential, and civic sections. Retail stores will occupy 22,000 square feet of ground floor space. There will be 50,000 square feet devoted to city offices, and condominiums will also be added.
In a 2015 interview with The Boston Globe, Mayor Gary Christenson said he believes this is the first time in Massachusetts that a city hall will be a “mixed use development.”
M. O’Connor General Contracting, hired by the city, will head the rebuilding of city hall’s interior.
Parking remains a complicated issue. Hogan said the parking arrangement depends entirely on the building’s use. The city may gain control of 65 permanent spaces underneath the reconstructed south building. But this would still require some employees and visitors to park in the existing garage on Jackson Street.
The innovative design also raises the question of city hall’s security, but Hogan said city hall will have its own space.
“There’s no space that’s shared, so city hall will have separate entrances, no shared elevators,” Hogan said. “Once city hall is closed, it’s closed and that’s it. Nobody from any other part of the building can get into it.”
City Hall will populate five levels of the north side of the building. As detailed by a video on the city’s website, council chambers and a lobby will be located on the first floor and frequently visited offices––treasurer, city clerk, comptroller, assessors, and the veterans department––will occupy the second level.
Other departments, a roof deck, and a city-employee exclusive health center will occupy the upper three floors.
City Hall’s reconstruction is one of multiple construction projects underway in Malden in an effort to expand the downtown area and develop the city as a whole.