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Visions for Vacancies: What Should Take the Place of Brooks Pharmacy?

Check out Malden Patch's latest column, featuring empty storefronts and encouraging readers to envision their dream downtown.

Sure, we walk past empty storefronts in Malden all the time - but do you ever wonder what could take their places? 

Each week, Patch will feature a different vacant storefront in the city, and ask for your ideas.

This week's pick is the old Brooks Pharmacy location at the corner of Main and Pleasant St., right next to 's and across the street from CVS. 

What do you think? A movie theater? A comedy club? A department store? The possibilities are limited only by your imagination (and zoning codes). 

DannyBoy February 08, 2012 at 03:11 PM
How about a more upscale retail store? Please, no more dollar stores or nail salons for Malden Center!
Chris Caesar February 08, 2012 at 03:38 PM
What kind of retail, D?
Chris Caesar February 08, 2012 at 03:56 PM
That wasn't the question :)
Chris Caesar February 08, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Haha. You gotta do what you gotta do, John.
Ken Howard February 08, 2012 at 05:11 PM
John may be right about what is not coming, but I do think we need something like a Bruegger's Bagels, a StarBucks or a Panera. This location would be great for all three.
AnnieOMalden February 08, 2012 at 06:15 PM
How about taking a walk down Main St. Melrose and look at what they have there that we don't have at all?
DannyBoy February 08, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Annie, Not to sound off-topic on this subject, but another huge factor in play is the demographic composition of Malden residents: your average Melrose household has a higher income level than your average Malden household. Translation: there are wealthier residents and fewer low-income and section 8 people in Melrose that can sustain the types of businesses they have on Main St, that we in Malden would love to have. I don't know what city officials in Malden can come up with to attract wealthier families to buy properties in Malden and settle down here.
Brian February 08, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Sounds like gentrification to me, D. Let's try more affordable and LOCAL options. Why do we need more chains? A coffeeshop owned by a Malden resident would be nice!
Ken Downey February 08, 2012 at 07:08 PM
How about local eatery "chains" like Anna's Taqueria ?
Ginny Sprague February 08, 2012 at 08:38 PM
if you decide on an "eatery chain" ~ what about : "5 Guys" they have a simple menu and their prices (in my opinion) are reasonable...along with fresh/never frozen food items.....
Naomi Brave February 08, 2012 at 09:04 PM
The list is long. Malden needs SO MANY shops: bakeries, coffee shop, modern/upscale clothing store, modern/upscale shoe store, gift shop, book store, movie theater, record store (showing my age here) greeting card store, home goods, garden shop.........basically all services.
Ginny Sprague February 08, 2012 at 09:23 PM
This is true, Naomi ~ there are lots of options... ~ hopefully whatever does goes in will generate employment for LOCAL Malden residents. Whatever business it may be, in order for it to work (and stay) it will have to be reasonable priced for the patrons to come in and come back over and over again...
Paul Weston February 09, 2012 at 02:02 PM
The space you are referring to is the lobby and old entrance to the Granada Movie theater, which was located in back of the building. When the theater was closed and torn down, the lobby was closed in the back and converted to retail space. The floor was raised a few feet(Notice the steps and ramp in the front) and most likely a drop ceiling put in. What remains of the original interior is anyone's guess. Possibly the original art deco is behind teh drop down ceiling and sheet rocked walls, waiting for someone to come along and bring them back to life. As for something new, what it comes down to is demographics. Malden does not have what it takes to bring in a Starbucks, Panera Bread, etc. Malden is predominantly in the lower income bracket, relative to a Melrose, Davis/Porter SQ area, South End, Burlington etc. In talking to other realtors, a good perception of Malden from people outside the city is somewhat lacking, despite of all the good work of the many community groups and thhings that go on here. Here is a link to a photo and story of the place. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/9965
Naomi Brave February 09, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Ginny: Malden has plenty of reasonably priced pizza and burger joints, as well as dollar stores. It's time we aim for a little sophistication in shopping and healthy choices for food. I know I'm not the only one who leaves town for meals and shopping, and would rather give my dollars to a local Malden business.
Todd February 09, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Oooh, I think the one thing that Malden is lacking is either a Dunkin Donuts or a CVS. It would be great right there ; )
DannyBoy February 09, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Todd, There's a CVS pharmacy right across the street from this vacant property, that's not going to happen...
Todd February 09, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Sorry, I guess my sarcasm was not evident. I was commenting on the fact that Malden is overrun with DD's and CVS's
Bill A February 09, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Malden has to overcome/rectify some redevelopment mistakes it's made in the past and stop making them in the future. Most of these involve a lack of residential density. Pleasant Street has to be opened again, which has been discussed. The entire Stop & Shop/strip mall/garage complex(s) on Centre Street was just a colossal underuse of land. A start would be not making the same mistake with the Fitness parcel. Davis Square has thrived for a couple of reasons, one being its proximity to transportation AND a densly populated neighborhood. Get rid of the MBTA parking lot -one has to be there by 6:00am to use it anyway - and one of the garages, then build some free-standing upscale duplexes wherever possible. And yes, I did say upscale. Malden has enough mixed-income, section 8 housing already! The apartment complexes that are already there supply enough transient (young single) housing - it needs to be a neighborhood.
Diane R. February 10, 2012 at 01:05 PM
I think there is a market for another nice restaurant. Malden has plenty of people who navigate to Melrose and other surrounding cities/towns for dinner because of the lack of restaurants in Malden. How about a seafood restaurant? That's one thing I'd like to see and to be honest, I'd rather spend my hard earned money in the city where I live.
DannyBoy February 10, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Bill A, I'm all for doing more upscale residential development in Malden, but we're not a "W" town, far from that, and who's going to want to buy such an expensive property in Malden, of all places?
moxie February 11, 2012 at 01:28 AM
When the debate/conversation was about The Converse, I voiced this same thought...how about a place that offers great breakfast (weekend patrons) along with a more "upscale" lunch offering? Upscale doesn't have to equate to "pricey". That's just marketing crap. Malden's proximity to the Chelsea Docks (produce etc), cuts down cost for product. Commuters (T) will go a few extra steps for great affordable coffee. Really good (not DD) bagels are "money". Speedy, yet healthy breakfast choices can put a place in the "Choice Spot" category... Malden residents aren't stuck in their ways...we simply have to go with what is offered. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a DD...I'll admit I patronize them, if I need coffee, but IT'S NOT REALLY THAT GOOD!!!!! Wait...I'm getting a "next-career-'cause- my- current- one- is- a -little-tired " thought....I'll keep The Patch posted.
moxie February 11, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Oh Todd, don't forget the next round of Luxury Condo Living (that no one will purchase). Let's build it before we even know there is a need for it!!!!!!!
Paul Weston February 11, 2012 at 04:26 AM
Bill, Davis Sq. has thrived because of its proximity to Harvard, Tufts and MIT, which in turn has attracted buisnesses in the IT and Bio-tech/pharma industries. It has also grown due the fact that the residents opposed the building of 12 story apartment buildings, and supported historic preservation, bike paths, and has made the area somewhat pedestrian friendly. You are right in regards in that we need to attrach more people in higher income brackets, but the question is why move here when they have other choices?
DannyBoy February 13, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Paul: Here's an idea for this city administration and the MRA. Why not convert this empty spot back to its original use, as a theater, where you can not only show movies but have live performances by music bands and Broadway-type shows? We could do something like they are doing with renovating the Davis Square Theater: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/somerville/2012/02/new_davis_square_theatre_will.html If they want Malden to be a destination for artists, that would be something worthwhile to consider...
C DiSalvatore September 03, 2012 at 12:28 PM
I thought your sarcasm was loud and clear...and appropriate! ;)
C DiSalvatore September 03, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I agree DannyBoy...I think a movie theater that can double as a venue for performing arts. In Stoneham center there is an old theater there that they use for that very purpose. I don't think there are movies showing there, but Malden can be in the vanguard then...
C DiSalvatore September 03, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Malden's proximity to Boston should make it an affordable option for young professionals. I think there are some here, but all in all, Malden has a reputation for being "below board". The landscaping in the square is a nice touch, but is really window dressing for a dreary, dollar shop environment. The only places I go to in Malden are All Seasons Table, Exchange St Bistro and CVS. Firmani's tailoring is another place, but how often does one need tailoring services. There are many problems with Malden Square, one of which is parking (the DESE lot was restructured 3X!), the street is too narrow, people park haphazardly, the stores look dated and uninviting and there is too few options unless you're looking for a pizza or a cheap trinket.

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