Roseland Property Co. is seeking to develop 3 million square feet of housing and commercial space at Rowe’s Quarry, a 100-acre site straddling the Malden/Revere border near Route 1.

Time finally appears to be catching up to Rowe’s Quarry.

Straddling the North Shore communities of Malden and Revere, the 100-acre site currently resembles a western mining town, its ancient wooden buildings offering sharp contrast to the stores, motels and office buildings that dominate the adjacent Route 1 retail strip. If Roseland Property Co. has its way, however, Rowe’s Quarry will soon be thrust into the 21st century in a big way, with the New Jersey-based firm proposing to develop as much as 3 million square feet of housing and commercial space on the parcel.

“We’re all poised to blast off,” project representative Jeffrey C. Nadherny told Banker & Tradesman, predicting that the first phase of the $400 million complex could be underway this summer. That notion received a boost last week when the Malden City Council unanimously approved needed zoning changes for the project, with the Revere City Council expected to okay similar relief this week.

Under the plan for Overlook Ridge, Roseland would initially build 760 market-rate apartments on the property, which will require extensive fill to compensate for a century of excavation. Depending on a master plan to be created with the assistance of a community task force representing both cities, Roseland could ultimately construct as many as 2,400 housing units, and is also planning a hotel and 120,000 square feet of retail space.

“It’s really an opportunity to create and shape a community, and that’s something you usually can’t find anymore,” said Nadherny, a veteran commercial broker who has been representing the quarry’s owners. The Roseland concept has evolved during the past 18 months, said Nadherny, who praised the leadership of both cities for their willingness to jointly pursue the ambitious plan.

“Malden and Revere have been great to work with,” he said. “There’s been good support from a lot of people who want to see this move forward.”

Efforts to contact Revere officials were unsuccessful by press deadline, but Malden Mayor Richard C. Howard and Malden Redevelopment Authority Director Stephen Wishoski both offered praise for the undertaking. Wishoski noted several controversial proposals for the parcel over the years, including an asphalt-batching plant and a sludge dump championed by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. Those and several other concepts deemed deleterious to the surrounding area were defeated after vocal opposition, but Wishoski said the lure of “filling a big hole in the ground” made the Roseland concept even more appealing.

“We’ve dodged bullets a couple of times, but there’s only so many times you can do that,” he said. Roseland’s plan, meanwhile, will offer millions of dollars in tax revenues for both Malden and Revere, he said, as well as improving property values for the quarry’s neighbors.

Unusual Design
According to Wishoski, initial concerns when the plan emerged 18 months ago centered on whether Roseland had the financial wherewithal to build such a massive development, and whether it would be able to work cooperatively with abutters and the city administrations. A tour by city officials of Roseland’s Port Imperial complex in New Jersey alleviated many of those trepidations, Wishoski said.

“I was impressed,” he said of the Port Imperial development, a $1.7 billion, master-planned community across the Hudson River from Manhattan. When fully built out, Port Imperial will include 6,500 residential units and nearly 2 million square feet of office buildings, hotels, retail space and entertainment uses.

“We were very comfortable that they will be able to do what they want to do” at Overlook Ridge, said Wishoski. One chief concern had been the impact on Route 1, but Wishoski said Roseland has offered to construct a new diamond interchange, donating land to the state for additional lanes along Route 1. Another road will be built through the quarry itself.

Provided the Revere approvals are attained, Howard and Revere Mayor Thomas Ambrosino will appoint a community task force to develop the master plan for Overlook Ridge. State highway officials will also participate in the effort.

After having virtually no presence locally, Roseland has made an aggressive foray into the Bay State in the past few years, with projects underway in Hingham, Quincy and on a valuable waterfront site on Boston Harbor in East Boston. The latter development, labeled Pier One, is on a site owned by the Massachusetts Port Authority. It calls for more than 600 residential units, as well as retail, marine uses and office space.

Nadherny said Roseland was attracted to Rowe’s Quarry for a variety of reasons, including vistas as high as 50 feet from the hill upon which the quarry was carved out of during the past century. Along with views of the Atlantic Ocean, the proximity to Route 1 and a location five miles from Boston were also strong selling points, Nadherny said. The design by a Virginia architectural firm will be “unlike anything in New England,” he said, with residential units wrapped around four-story garages to keep vehicles off the street. Extensive landscaping is also planned, he said.

Wishoski said he also is enthused by the project’s design, adding that he believes it will prove to be an attractive residential location. Indeed, the wildly successful Granada Highlands apartment complex is sited across Route 1 from Overlook Ridge.

“It has tremendous potential,” he said. “And we’re just glad to be able to put something together so that we don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen there anymore.”

Malden City Council Approves $400 Million Development Plan

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 4 min