Milford HoJos, Friendly’s to be demolished; Fairfield Inn, retail to take their place

The Howard Johnson Hotel in Milford photographed on 7/15/2013.

The Howard Johnson Hotel in Milford photographed on 7/15/2013.

The Howard Johnson Lodge and Friendly’s restaurant at 1040 and 1052 Boston Post Road will be demolished, and a Fairfield Inn, a Floor and Decor store and a small retail store will take their place.

The Planning and Zoning Board voted unanimously at its Jan. 2 meeting to approve two applications from Turnpike Lodge LLC and Connecticut Foods Inc. for work in the Interchange Commerical District.

Philip C. Craft of Easton is president of both companies.

One approval narrows from 50 to 40 feet the landscape buffer between the property and the adjacent Forest Park condominiums on a hill to the rear. The other vote approved the special permit and site plan which included merging the two properties into one 8.25-acre parcel.

The board approved the project with two conditions: relocation of a 13-foot by 9-foot building that houses utilities, currently in the buffer zone; the second calls for using exterior materials for the hotel that meet the board’s architectural standards. The project garnered no public comment.

Architect Patrick Rose said the new hotel will have 108 rooms on four floors with 26 suites and 82 standard hotel rooms. Amenities will be located on the first floor including a breakfast room, a fitness center and an indoor pool.

Rose said the roof would include cellular phone antennas screened behind panels with an equipment room for the antennas in the hotel basement.

There will be 279 parking spaces for the site. Rose said there is a 20 to 30 foot difference in grade between the commercial property and the adjacent residential property.

Rose said the 5,000-square-foot retail building could house up to four tenants. He did not name any potential tenants.

Carol Secondino, regional director for the Waterford Hotel Group, which will own and operate the Fairfield Inn, said

Waterford operates two existing Marriott properties in Milford, the Residence Inn and Spring Hill Suites on Rowe Avenue. The company also operates a Courtyard by Marriott in Orange.

Julie Starzynski, construction design and project manager for Floor and Décor, said the company is “looking to break into the northeast.” Starzynski said the company’s nearest store is Farmingdale, N.Y., and its only New England store is in Avon, Mass. The Milford store will be about 75,000 square feet.

Starzynski said the company recently opened its 100th store, which is in California. According to its website, the Atlanta-based company started in 2000, and sells hard surface flooring materials, including tile, wood, stone and related tools and flooring accessories. She said contractors represent about 40 to 60 percent of its business.

David Bjorklund, civil engineer for the project, said a loop road around the property would lead to a loading dock for Floor and Décor that will be screened from the residential area.

The 279-car parking lot will include amenities, including charging stations and bike racks.

Matthew Popp, landscape architect, said there would be a 30- to 40-foot wide landscape buffer between the hotel and the retail uses. Popp said the project has 63 shade trees where 56 are required, along with 18 heritage birch trees, which he termed “borderline shade trees,” 34 flowering trees, and 25 evergreen trees, including Norway spruce trees, and 35 red cedar trees along the back of the property.

Traffic engineer David Sullivan said the project would add 130 new trips during the peak weekday afternoon hour and 200 trips during the Saturday peak hour.

The Floor and Décor store will be at the rear of the property near Forest Park, while the Fairfield Inn would be near the adjacent Hooter’s restaurant; the retail building would be located adjacent to the Olympia Diner property.