Developer seeks to add housing to former Kmart site in Milford

MILFORD — The plaza that formerly housed Kmart may soon be home to multi-family housing.

The developer, CDP Milford, LLC, has proposed a zone change for 589 Bridgeport Ave. — a site that contains several buildings housing Ocean State Job Lot, Dollar Tree, Walgreens, Taco Bell as well as a small strip mall adjacent to Bridgeport Avenue with a Subway, a liquor store and other vacant space.

The current zoning for the proposed area does not allow for residential uses. The Planning and Zoning Board, at its meeting this week, closed the public comment on the application but kept the public hearing open and continued the application to its meeting next week.

CDP Milford, LLC, stated in its application that, outside of Taco Bell and Walgreens, the center is characterized by outdated facades, broken pavement, minimal landscaping and a timeworn appearance. It also stated the property is proof of the dramatic changes that have occurred in the retail landscape, with a particularly harmful impact on Devon and the ability to revitalize the area.

“While our site is not technically a part of Devon, it is certainly within close proximity, and simply by nature of its size, it has a significant impact on Devon and the surrounding areas,” said John Knuff, representing CDP Milford, LLC.

Plans appear to show a new facade for the building now housing Ocean State Job Lot and Dollar Tree and apartments on and behind where the Kmart once was.

Knuff said when CDP Milford, LLC, was considering how to upgrade the site, it set out to answer specific questions, such as how to include multi-family, for which they know there is demand, while respecting the adjacent single-family residential zone and Jonathan Law High School and maintaining the integrity of the Bridgeport Avenue commercial frontage.

“The amendment proposes the addition of multi-family residential under very specific circumstances in the zone,” he said. “It proposes to maintain the commercial frontage, the commercial corridor along Bridgeport Avenue. It proposes to ensure multi-families accompanied by a significant tangible improvement to the remaining commercial buildings on Bridgeport Avenue. It ensures any multi-family development is extremely attractive and accomplishes the transition between commercial properties and the single-family residential to our south, and offers plenty of intimates.”

The amendment ties any proposed multi-family with a significant enhancement to the remaining commercial buildings on the site. The language calls for requiring residential buildings to contain a minimum of 15 acres and a minimum of 600 feet of frontage on Bridgeport Avenue and removal or renovation of the five existing structures by replacing new or altered structures devoted to commercial use and complying with architectural standards.

“The idea here is you can’t simply come forward with a special permit application for the multi-family and maybe a special permit for commercial as well and build the multi-family and walk away from the commercial obligations. You have to do both,” said Knuff.

The goal is to create an attractive multi-family residential development to appeal to various residents, according to Knuff, adding that to achieve the goal, developers have to comply with a list set by CDP Milford, LLC.

Some requirements include no more than 36 dwelling units in a single multi-family residential building, indoor residential community amenities such as a club room, fitness center, cinema room, co-working space and/or a prep kitchen, EV charging stations, bike share systems, and outdoor residential amenities such as pool and lawn game area.

“We believe that the requested regulation amendment and the redevelopment it presents offers the best opportunity to create a truly positive impact and to take that giant leap in transforming this part of the city,” said Knuff. “Not only on this parcel but also by creating momentum for the transformation of other nearby properties as well.”