The Boston Globe | By Roberto Scalese
May 11, 2017
John Matheson is tired of what he sees when he looks at the old Malden Hospital site. He blames its longtime owner, Hallmark Health, for the sprawling mess.
“Hallmark created that blight,” said Matheson, a city councilor who represents residents of Malden’s West End, on the Medford line. “And now, they are forcing the neighbors to live next to a dangerous blight until they become so frustrated that they give Hallmark the right to determine their zoning.”
Hallmark closed the hospital in 1999, and the last offices in what had become an ambulatory medical center inside the 330,000-square foot building emptied in 2004. Despite more than a decade’s worth of efforts to redevelop the site, it remains a massive, vacant structure surrounded by a sea of asphalt and encroaching trees.
In 2013, Malden ordered Hallmark to make repairs to the structure, including upgrades to the sprinkler and fire alarm systems. Hallmark balked, saying the building was safe, and sued the city.
In March, a jury determined Hallmark did not have to complete the repairs. The city will not appeal, Mayor Gary Christenson said.
“Our goal is to try and find a project to redevelop that site that is going to benefit the city of Malden and the residents there, because we plan on being there and being part of that community,” said Charles Whipple, Hallmark Health’s executive vice president. “We’re not just going to sell it to the highest bidder.”