Milford approves 192 apartments at former Kmart site

MILFORD — After years of Kmart drawing shoppers to Milford, developers hope a new residential development at the site becomes a catalyst for further improvements in the city's Devon section.

"People pass by and ask why don't they do something with that property, and so we are back again to do something with it," Casey Associated LTD Partnerships representative Attorney John Knuff said. "Not only will the redevelopment improve the property itself, but it will also be a catalyst for further improvements to the area, including Devon."

The original site plan for the site, at 579 Bridgeport Ave., was dubbed Regulation 22-8. It would have raised the building height limit from 40 feet to 50 feet, changed the size of the building from 12 acres to 10 acres and changed the maximum housing density from 17 units per acre to 19. 

"While the denial wasn't our best day, upon reflection, by the entire team and my clients, we understood the position and made substantive changes in response while maintaining the project's success," Knuff said.

Under the new Regulation change, Regulation 23-1, the maximum number of units per acre increases from 17 to 18, and the land required for multifamily residential buildings decreases from 12 acres to 10 acres. In addition, residential building heights are proposed to be less than 40 feet, where 40 feet is the maximum allowable. This is also a reduction from the 50-foot limit developers had originally proposed.

The development would include a new facade for portions of the retail plaza and a multifamily complex comprising 192 units spread among six buildings, compared to the previously proposed 202 units in seven buildings.

"We are still showing the same dramatic improvements to the commercial buildings ... and the site itself on Bridgeport Avenue," Knuff said. "We are reducing the total unit count by 10 units and still including a minimum of 10 percent set aside as affordable."

The updated plan still includes a clubhouse, pool, trash and maintenance facility and a dog park.

"The pool area will be closed either at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. because the closest neighbors to the pool are residents, of course, and in no way do we want to disturb those who are living there outside at the pool or clubhouse area," Knuff said.

Other changes include 503 parking spaces for retail, with 51 having electric vehicle charging stations and 357 parking spaces for the apartment complex. The previous plans had called for 357 residential and 385 retail spaces and 36 EV spots.

The public raised concerns about traffic once the project was completed because of the location near Jonathan Law High School on Landsdale Road and the potential of heavy traffic during football games.

Knuff said it wasn't a design parameter to accommodate the occasional Friday night football game.

"You don't design parking lots for Black Friday at retail centers, so you don't design roadways like Landsdale for the occasional football game," he said.

Michael Dion, project traffic engineer, said there are three ways to enter and exit the apartments: Landsdale Avenue, signalized Bridgeport Avenue and un-signalized Bridgeport Avenue (right-in/right-out). Dion also mentioned the apartments would be in a gated community and that residents would have a key card.

"If you are leaving this multifamily community and want to go north on Post Road, you can easily go through the gates and head out through the commercial portion of the site. There's no need to head out Landsdale and make a right to get onto Post Road," he added. "There are many different options for our residents if they're coming or going to avoid Landsdale."