With resurgence in the Malden office market, Combined Properties has broken ground on a 76,000-sf office project at 195 Canal St. The state-of-the-art building will replace an industrial structure that has been vacant for nearly three years, says Combined president John Pereira. His firm acquired the building last year for $1.2 million.

“Only the foundation and skeleton of the original building will remain,” says Pereira, who adds that Combined plans to have the building ready for occupancy by January. Designed by Davis & Associates, the building will feature new HVAC and mechanical systems, two loading docks and fiber-optic access for telecommunications systems. More important, he notes, is the rate differential, with asking rents of $25 per sf certainly considered a bargain in the local real estate climate.

“Companies looking for available space in this tight commercial market will find this site an attractive option not only in terms of amenities, but also as a competitively priced alternative to locations in Cambridge and Downtown Boston,” says Pereira, noting that rents are exceeding $60 per sf in those communities.

“We have no doubt this building will instantly be one of the most desirable commercial spaces in the Greater Boston area,” says Pereira. Malden is within four miles of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tufts University and Harvard are also nearby.Combined has been one of Malden’s most active developers over the years, with more than two million sf purchased, owned and managed in the area since 1976. The project is also a sign that the northern Boston suburb is once again being viewed as a viable office alternative. The city had begun to attract such uses in the late 1980s, but has struggled to regain its momentum since the crash of 1990-1992 sent vacancies skyrocketing above the 20% level.

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