Milford development would include 50 apartments, municipal parking garage

Rendering of the Metro Star Apartment Project located at 44-64 River Street. The project features two apartment buildings and more than 200 parking spaces.

Rendering of the Metro Star Apartment Project located at 44-64 River Street. The project features two apartment buildings and more than 200 parking spaces.

John Wicko Archetect, LLC/Contributed

MILFORD — The Planning and Zoning Board has approved a plan to split 50 apartments between two buildings on River Street instead of the one previously approved, after the developer relocated the proposed parking garage to avoid delays in getting approval for an initial entrance on Railroad Avenue.

The 44-64 River St. apartment project initially consisted of one 61,928-square-foot mixed-use building, approved in 2021.

"This mixed-use project includes 50 dwelling units and about 12,400 square feet of retail space," said Blake Smith, director of real estate at Metro Star Properties. "Parking is 76 spaces on the upper level and a municipal parking garage with 121 below it."

City Planner David Sulkis said the resubmission was made because the previously approved use of Railroad Avenue for the parking garage access requires state approval, which could not be obtained in a timely manner. The proposed changes are to relocate the garage entrance to River Street.

"While we pursued the easement for a stretch of time, a long stretch of time, both the city and Metro Star determined the process to establish the documentation would take over a year to achieve due to the multiple state departments and commissions required to approve the easement to the city," said Smith.

Ronald Wassmer, project engineer, said they will have seven electric vehicle charging spaces on the surface level parking and 13 on the lower level parking.

"The lower parking level is completely under the control of the city," he said. "The 121 are being built for the city to use for public parking, and that was the whole concept of this transit-oriented design. The 77 parking spaces on the surface level are also open to the public in general, but specifically, the lower level was designed as substantial parking for the downtown area."

Sulkis said it is yet to be determined if a parking permit will be needed to park in the municipal parking garage.

"The city, I think, was looking into exploring a parking authority, so at the moment, it'll be up to the city," he said.

John Wicko, project architect, said going from one building to two was a choice they made to make it possible to have the entrance to the parking garage be on River Street and the access to the upper-level parking space be on Darina Place.

"As a result of the style context change, we were able to reduce the overall massing and the size of the buildings in terms of its height, and by reducing the scale from one building to two, we were able to introduce a smaller scale as we go up Darina Place," said Wicko.

In an executive summary, Sulkis stated the front building is 51,844 square feet, and the rear building is 12,303 square feet for a total of 64,147 square feet.

"The rear building is designed in a much smaller scale to respect the residential quality of Darina Place and has more residential architectural features," said Wicko.

The number of dwelling units and parking spaces on the upper level remains the same, but there was an increase of one parking spot at the municipal parking garage for public use. An additional 119 square feet of commercial real estate was added to the project, and the landscaped area has increased from 3,386 square feet to 4,257 square feet.

"In addition to the two building configurations, we have changed the architecture to relate more to a more New England urban feel that complements the Post Office building to the north and the River Street facades to our south," said Smith. "This location is directly adjacent to the Metro-North Train Station and, by definition, forms a true transit-oriented development."