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By Stanley Hurwitz
August 2004

$90 Million Shopping Center Recycles Reading's Municipal Landfill
1,000 Attend Opening of First Retailer at The Crossing at Walkers Brook

QUINCY, MASS. — More than 1,000 people, including Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey and a host of local and state officials, attended the recent opening of the first retail store at the $90 million Crossing at Walkers Brook in Reading. The project has created about 400 construction jobs and will bring some 1,000 new jobs to the plaza once all the tenants are open.

According to Mark Dickinson, President of Dickinson Development Corp. of Quincy, developer of the 33.5 acre destination retail center on Route 128 / 95 in Reading (Mass.), the topography of the former municipal landfill dictated the unique vertical-box design. Home Depot and Jordan’s Furniture share a common footprint as the project centerpiece. Home Depot, the first retailer to open on the site, consists of 140,000 square feet and Jordan’s Furniture, set to open in October, will have 260,000 square feet including an IMAX theater. An adjacent Chili’s Restaurant opening in September completes Phase I. The 70,000 square-foot Phase II, to be completed by the Spring of 2005, will accommodate several more retailers and restaurants. In his remarks, Reading Selectmen Chairman Rick Schubert noted that Reading Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner had been working since 1986 to turn the town's "trash into cash."

Dickinson Vice President Ed Shaw says engineers and architects had to overcome significant geotechnical and environmental hurdles to move the project along. The unique public-private arrangement saw local, state and federal agencies working closely with the Dickinson team which closed and capped the landfill, saving the town about $4 - $5 million. Dickinson also paid $3 million for the site to the town of Reading, and worked closely with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. Adjacent road improvements were made possible by a $1.8 million Public Works Economic Development grant (PWED) from the state. The plaza will mean an estimated $750,000 annually in new property taxes to the town of Reading plus untold millions in sales and income tax revenue to the Commonwealth.

Dickinson’s project team includes: project partner Pinnacle Partners; construction consultants Pinnconn, Inc.; Phase I contractor Suffolk Construction; architects Carter-Burgess; and engineering firms Haley & Aldrich, VHB, Inc., and Dufresne-Henry.

Founded in 1980, Dickinson Development Corp. is a commercial real estate development company that has developed over three million square feet of office, retail and industrial space and hotels in New England and Florida. (For more information, contact Ed Shaw or Mark Dickinson: 617-770-1955 or visit www.dickinsondev.com). Leasing is being handled by The Wilder Companies of Boston.

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