MALDEN, MA-Armatron International takes 56,000 sf of space at 1 Highland Ave. in a lease deal that demonstrates the continued strength of the industrial market.

The company, which was once the American Radio Co. and now develops a line of outdoor products for the home, took a 10-year lease on space in the Townline Plaza, a 135,000-sf shopping center that was once home to Caldor’s and Star Market. Caldor’s went out of business two years ago and Star Market closed its doors at the center as well. “It was kind of dead for retail,” Phillip Burgess, president of locally based Burgess Properties, tells Burgess represented Maldex LP, an affiliate of S.R. Weiner & Associates in the deal.

Bally’s Fitness recently took the 25,000 sf of space vacated by Star Market, and Child Development Centers leased the 10,000 sf that had been taken by Fleet Bank and a liquor store which left S.R. Weiner & Associates Inc., the owner of the property, with another 78,000-sf of space to fill. The state took 22,000 sf for the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind but Burgess says that the balance of the space could have gone either for office or industrial use. “People looked at it for use as office space,” he notes.

Burgess notes that industrial space this close to the city–Malden is about seven miles north of Boston–is hard to get. While the office market in the area continues to struggle with high vacancy rates and dropping rents, the industrial market, says Burgess, “is excellent.”

Armatron moved from its previous location right over the town line in Melrose on Main Street. The company will use the space as its corporate headquarters as well as for light assembly.

Armatron International was represented by Jayson Rhuda of Wakefield-based Mohr Partners. S.R. Weiner & Associates, a Boston-based real estate development and management corporation, currently owns 57 community shopping centers and four enclosed malls in the New England region.

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