Combined Properties Snags Massachusetts DOT Property in $6M Sale
For Combined Properties, a developer based in Malden, change is coming. For a price of $6 million, Combined Properties recently won a bid for a state-owned piece of land on Mystic Avenue in Medford. To date, the land has been owned by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and used as a sign shop for the state agency. The developer plans to redevelop the parcel into a mixed-use space with a combination of residential units and places for retailers and restaurants. The plans call for 500 apartments and 53,000 SF of commercial use space.
This project is one of several statewide that are incentivizing private developers to build on publicly owned land. The move was initiated by Governor Charlie Baker, who launched an "Open for Business" initiative in 2015. The project has proven successful since its inception, with over two dozen properties throughout Massachusetts having been sold or leased for redevelopment. Depending on their location and local needs, the projects serve a variety of purposes, including generating housing opportunities for residents and business growth opportunities for commercial ventures. When finished, the projects are expected to bring over 2,000 new housing units to the state and give businesses about 450,000 SF of new space for offices and other commercial needs. State officials expect work surrounding the projects to create around 600 jobs for residents. Taxes from the endeavors are projected to amount to around $12.3 million.
In Medford, city officials praise the transaction as a win-win for the developer and for the city. They state that the parcel currently occupied by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is underutilized. Revitalizing that property will continue to promote Boston's, and the state's, goal of supporting and stimulating local economics. State transportation officials add their praise too, stating that the projects will help strengthen local communities and make them more interconnected. In turn, that will strengthen local community ties and increase economic development.
To carry out its vision, Combined Properties plans to combine its Mystic Avenue acquisition with its existing properties. The developer currently owns several parcels on Mystic Avenue, including properties at addresses 206-210, 278, 282, 312-326, and 322. Combined Properties plans to combine a 1.67-acre parcel, purchased from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, with neighboring parcels, which will create a 500-unit residential complex. The company expects the latest project to create 1,650 part-time and temporary construction jobs and 150 permanent jobs. Combined Properties predicts that the development will average just under $7 million in sales and property tax during the construction phase, and an extra $1.3 million in annual taxes and fees to Medford.
In addition to this latest improvement project, Combined Properties has started transforming its existing properties on Mystic Avenue. At 312 Mystic Avenue, the developer renewed a Sherwin Williams Auto Finishes building covering around 5,670 SF. The building is used for the manufacturing and distribution of paint and coating products for cars and fleet refinishing businesses. The same property, which covers an area of 41,703 SF, is also the site of NorthEast Electrical Distributors, Core Power Yoga, and Johnstone Supply. The advantage of its properties' location on Mystic Avenue, the developer says, is the street's proximity to transportation and easy access to Boston. Combined Properties notes that the Mystic Avenue lots are highly visible, with easy access to I-93, Route 16, and Route 28. The properties all offer tenants and residents free on-site parking, which is a plus, given that the availability of parking spots, like housing, is dwindling quickly throughout Boston. Mystic Avenue is also just five minutes away from downtown Boston and Cambridge, which is one of the city's most prestigious neighborhoods. The developer's lots are also close to several schools and universities, including Tufts, Harvard, and MIT.
Medford was officially incorporated in 1630, and it became a city in 1892. Here, as in other neighborhoods across Boston, officials and residents are trying to balance the dual needs of retaining Boston's neighborhoods' historic character while allowing new, modern living and working space for area businesses and residents. The Mystic Avenue project, like others throughout the area, is focusing on revitalizing existing space to accommodate those diverse needs.