Cummings Properties Transforms Dunham Ridge Business Park

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BEVERLY, MA–When Cummings Properties purchased 50 Dunham Road in December 2011, the 54-acre site included just one building that was 90 percent vacant.

Undeterred by the market’s disinterest and by others’ perception of a property with significant limitations, Cummings saw potential. The Woburn-based firm’s vision for an expanded business and technology campus, Dunham Ridge, is now being realized.

“The location, with its prime Route 128 frontage and access, was just too attractive to pass up the opportunity to create a new commercial hub,” said Dennis Clarke, chairman and CEO of Cummings Properties. “It has become quite rare to have a nearly blank slate directly adjacent to a major highway.”

Cummings is best known on the North Shore for its transformation of “The Shoe,” the massive former site of United Shoe Machinery Corporation, into Cummings Center. This modern 2 million-square-foot mixed-use campus is approximately 2 miles from Dunham Ridge.

In addition to the original 105,000-square-foot building, Dunham Ridge now features a 500-car covered parking garage and a 144,000-square-foot research and office building, completed in November. Steel erection will commence in February for another building of similar size.

In a departure from its usual approach to development, Cummings Properties has sold two parcels of land from the site for third-party developments, and is offering two additional lots for purchase.

“Although our firm had previously focused only on leasing, expanding the possibilities at Dunham Ridge allowed us to broaden the pool of potential occupants for this fantastic site,” said Clarke.

Dennis Clarke

Initially, Vitality Senior Living purchased 4 acres with plans for an upscale 118-unit assisted living community. Then last fall, Cummings announced that Harmonic Drive bought nearly 5 acres on which to build a 100,000-square-foot U.S. headquarters and high-tech manufacturing facility.

The upcoming move will be a homecoming of sorts for Harmonic, which launched in Beverly nearly 60 years ago—originally as a division of United Shoe Machinery Corporation—before moving to Peabody.

Dunham Ridge is also home to meditech firm Microline Surgical’s headquarters and advanced manufacturing facility, as well as to drug safety firm spmd and System 7 Wolfers, a smart-home technology company.

“At this stage, we have the flexibility to custom build facilities for a wide range of science-based industries, including meditech and biotech,” said Clarke, who noted that the lower floors of 52 Dunham Ridge, currently under construction, have been designed to accommodate light industrial uses. “And for companies seeking a prominent location, the 40 Dunham Ridge parcel, which directly borders Route 128, offers tremendous visibility.”

Next to North Shore Music Theatre, Dunham Ridge is accessed via Exit 19 on Route 128. The property served originally as the corporate headquarters for Parker Brothers Company and, later, Atari. When Cummings Properties acquired the site, it had just one 10,000-square-foot occupant.

Cummings Properties’ portfolio of 10 million square feet of prime space accommodates offices, healthcare facilities, labs, restaurants, retail storefronts, warehouses, executive suites, and more. With a portfolio of this size and variety, the firm can meet almost any commercial real estate need from 150 square feet to 300,000 square feet. Its in-house experts in design, construction, and property management offer “one-stop shopping” for the business community.