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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

TeleCom City

Success in Collaboration
Mystic Valley Development Commission

(August 14, 2001)

TeleCom City Success in Brownfields Cleanup Revolving

In October 2000, EPA recognized the Mystic Valley Development Commission (MVDC) as one of 12 new Brownfields Showcase Communities of a total of 26 in the country. In July of 1996, the Massachusetts state legislature passed an act which created the MVDC to oversee the ambitious redevelopment of 200 acres of former industrial property spanning the communities of Malden, Medford, and Everett along the polluted, underutilized and economically obsolete Malden River into a center for the State's strong telecommunications industry. The three communities have a population of approximately 142,000 and are located in the inner suburban loop, 5 miles from Boston. The area is heavily urbanized and there is no greenspace available for new industrial development. "TeleCom City" includes an innovative tax-sharing agreement and one-stop permitting that erases municipal boundaries in the project area. The three cities, which had traditionally been rivals, have demonstrated unprecedented cooperation to combine resources and collaboratively pursue redevelopment solutions. Any one of the cities acting alone would not have been able to leverage the resources and support needed to make this project a success, but as a result of local collaboration TeleCom City is on its way to becoming a reality.

When complete, TeleCom City will be a complex consisting of 1.8 million square feet of office, research and development, and manufacturing space as well as a riverfront park and greenspace for local residents. To date, the MVDC has received over $1.25 million in brownfields funds and assistance from EPA New England.

The Mystic Valley was once home to national and international leaders in emerging chemical production, coal gasification, and manufacturing such as Allied Chemical, Monsanto, and Converse Rubber. Industry utilized the Malden River to transport products and raw material to and from Boston Harbor. After a steady period of decline, however, the area is now home to a large number of vacant buildings where redevelopment has been complicated by real or perceived contamination and fragmented ownership, where 88.2% of the land is owned by 75 private owners.

Since its inception, the MVDC has been working steadily toward its goal of sustainable redevelopment and community involvement. In consultation with a citizen advisory board, the MVDC created a Master Plan with public input and a massive coordination of local, state, federal, academic, business, and industry partnerships. The Master Plan outlines how the MVDC will systematically meet the goals of generating more taxes, upgrading local public schools through direct links with industry and universities, raising the job skill level of the local work force and creating new recreational opportunities centered around a reclaimed Malden River, in addition to creating approximately 7,500 new jobs and providing a home for the State's telecom industry. The MVDC seeks to involve area universities, federal and state governmental agencies, and private companies in an effort to reposition a stagnant, often obsolete, economy into a new global technology-based economy. The goal for TeleCom City is to create a state-of-the-art telecommunications center that will capitalize on the cutting-edge technologies of the Massachusetts telecommunications industry to position the State and the three cities for new regional and international investment.

Time Line:

1999 EPA Brownfield Pilot environmental assessments
Comprehensive regional traffic study
University consortium formalized
Anchor Institutions initiated off-site
Design for Malden River Park
Solicitation and agreement with a master developer
2000 Showcase Community designation
Initial land acquisitions
Relocation and clearance begins
Site remediation begins
2001 Transportation infrastructure improvements begin
Financing for first TeleCom City building
Groundbreaking for first building and the Malden River Park
2002 Applied Research Institute initiated
Lifelong Learning Center operations begin
First tenant announcement
2003 Completion of first TeleCom City Building
Completion of initial roadway improvements
Completion of first section of Malden River Park
2003-05 Additional three buildings in Medford portion of TeleCom City
2004-12 Improvements to the Route 16 corridor and full build-out of Everett portion of TeleCom City
EPA Press Release:  EPA Gives Mystic Valley Development Commission $400,000 as Brownfields Showcase

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