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Christenson, Developer Respond to Globe Column on Malden Field of Dreams

What do you think?

Both city officials and the project's developer have responded to a recent piece in the Boston Globe by journalist Paul McMorrow, in which the CommonWealth associate editor said the proposed 6,000-plus seat stadium was

Mayor Gary Christenson countered that McMorrow had “struck out looking on this one.”

“What McMorrow misses in his analysis is the history and progress of redevelopment of downtown Malden over the past 20 years,” a letter signed by both Christenson and Executive Director Stephen Wishoski reads.

Both the city and developer Alexander Bok balked at McMorrow's characterization of the project as “silver bullet” development, calling the stadium part of a “multipronged overall strategy” that includes bringing disposable income to the city's downtown, adding office workers and attracting niche retail to the square.

“We believe that our proposed ballpark is very good redevelopment use for a contaminated site on which residential development is inappropriate, not the 'regressive use' McMorrow terms it to be,” Bok wrote.

Bok also disputed some of the business projections put forward by McMorrow, saying the projected break-even attendance rate at the park is 50 per cent – about 3,200 seats – not the 77 per cent rate on which McMorrow said the group was counting.

“We see our project as one important piece of the future success story for downtown Malden,” he concluded.  

 

McMorrow responds

Asked for comment, McMorrow said he "might feel differently about the ballpark" if there "was other serious planning and development work happening in parallel."

"The city's track record to date doesn't indicate that it's serious about encouraging the kind of dense transit-oriented downtown deveopment that's needed to revtialize Malden Center," he continued.

"Over the past six years, Malden issued building permits for 123 multi-family units (per Census, that's in buildings with 5+ units). During that same time, Chelsea built multi-family at 3x the rate Malden did, and Everett built at 4x that rate, despite Malden's obvious advantages -- significant buildable lots with direct subway access."

"There aren't nearly enough people (ed's note: hyperlink was in original text) living downtown to sustain a healthy shopping district. That's why you don't see one. That's a math formula, not an opinion."

What do you think? Is McMorrow's criticism 'striking out looking' or does he have a point? 

Mary Hampton January 20, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Mr. McMorrow's points make sense to me which is why I wish we could pull in large or midsize employers that could bring jobs and tax revenue. I also don't know where Mr. Bok thinks the disposable income is going to come from. There doesn't seem to be much of it here in Malden, and I don't envision hoardes of baseball fans coming in from the wealthier communities to the north and west.
Ken Howard January 20, 2012 at 11:23 PM
"the history and progress of redevelopment of downtown Malden over the past 20 years", this is a statement I really have an issue with. I've been living in Malden for the last 20 years, and see little REAL progress. The items outlined in the letter are true, but during the same time we created a hole on Main Street where Deans Furniture was, Super Fitness went under, they tore down the building next to Citizens Bank for a parking lot, they've allowed several prime Main Street retail store/restaurant locations to become offices. Over the last twenty years we saw several good things come and go. Remember the 99 Restaurant, Pennyworth’s, McDonalds or Brooks Pharmacy? And the biggest failure in 20 years, anyone remember Telecom City? I could go on, but my fingers are going numb. In my opinion for last 20 years this city has taken two steps back for every one step forward. It’s time for the City officials to act, and REALLY move this City forward. Real redevelopment of downtown Malden needs to happen, and it needs to happen now.
DannyBoy January 20, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Ken, I agree 100% with you what you just wrote, and I've lived only half of the time in this city compared to you. I think the city officials are already sold on this development project with Alexander Bok, and are only paying lip service to soliciting public input (even the negative opinions about this project).
Ken January 21, 2012 at 01:59 AM
With Ed Markey behind the ballpark idea, I'm wondering if the developers are going to give us the carbon footprint for the park. With all the new auto traffic heading to Malden, are we going to be compensated for increased levels of that pollutant, CO2, in our neighborhood? This has to be of primary concern. How can one let economic activity get in the way of saving our Earth? Have we lost our minds?
Raj January 21, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Ed Markey was also the one who was going to allow competition in the Cable TV industry to keep prices in check...I dunno about you but I'm still waiting for it to help! Comcast is raising prices AGAIN this week! A ball park at this time should not even be up for consideration. Fix the roads!
Lyle January 21, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Agree with the above. Citing the "progress" that our downtown has made over the past twenty years is not very convincing. Other than a few new restaurants, our downtown is a collection of dollar stores and nail salons. It's quite depressing. We need to look at ALL available parcels of land as a whole, and have a plan based on that.
Jari Georgia January 21, 2012 at 02:41 PM
At the meeting, all I heard was how great this proposed project was for the developer with very little consideration given to the residents. The developer is saying that he will spend no money on infrastructure improvement such as building new parking facilities --he will use the existing City parking lots while expecting to receive 50% of the revenue from the parking. Questions about levels of noise were met with no concrete solution besides an explanation that the orientation of the stadium seating somehow "directs" the noise away from neighboring houses. Currently, noise from high school football games can be heard over a mile away from the same area -- how much louder will it be when you add in 6,000 people or a rock concert? There was no indication that any scientific studies have been done on levels of noise pollution or how to reduce noise levels. How late are the games going to be going on, let alone concerts? How many concerts will be held? No one is discussing how much the lives of Malden's citizens will seriously be disrupted. The developer also stated that he's expecting that there will be a need for some sort of tax relief in the future. How much of Malden's tax revenue will be used to support infrastructure for the stadium (parking, trash clean up, police/fire, traffic control, crowd control)? What about the increased usage of our already poorly repaired roads? How soon before our local property taxes will go up to support this project?
Raj January 21, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Let's build a casino instead (he said sarcastically) Christenson was not elected on the platform of building a baseball stadium and he should really abandon this idea or go into the history books of Malden as the Mayor who did more to destroy the backbone of the city than even Howard did.
paul surette January 22, 2012 at 07:22 AM
Ed Markey is a fossil (my apologies to dinosaurs and crude oil everywhere) :)
paul surette January 22, 2012 at 07:27 AM
Dear Jari, Lol, you're concerned about noise? Really? Maybe you heard that Malden has a football stadium called Pearl St. Stadium. THAT stadium is right next to homes. The proposed ball park would sit right in the middle of a commercially-zoned area, that ALREADY has traffic noise.
david mokal January 22, 2012 at 01:26 PM
LOL..Im with you Raj a Huge Classy Casino now that would bring in bussiness and the Ballpark as well. The way this city has been goin anything is an improvement. Lets get the crime of the streets and those camera's up and let the people have access to cams thru the internet. We will all be the eye in the sky
david mokal January 22, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Noise??? It will be the noise of excitement and happyness not the screams of gunfire,roberies,hold ups and shootings. Sounds of happiness outways the noise.
No Barry April 02, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Oh please snowball. You are a very negative person who would complain about everything. One has only to read your past nonsense to see that. I hope this brings thousands of people into Malden every day.
Chris Caesar April 02, 2012 at 05:42 PM
No Barry, I've gone through your comments history and it looks like all of your comments are directed at Jazz Snowden. I don't mind robust and even intense discussion on the boards, but let's try to keep it more general instead of focusing on a single person. I want everyone to feel like they are welcome to comment on the boards. Please email me with any questions: Chris.Caesar@patch.com

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