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Can High-End Living Save The Mall? CT's Largest Mall Is Counting On It

The proposed location of the new housing complex
The proposed location of the new housing complex Photo Credit: Milford Planning and Zoning Board

A multi-million dollar luxury apartment complex has been proposed for the state's largest mall with proponents saying that the development will save the mall from its continual economic downturn.

Developers with the Connecticut Post Mall in Milford pitched the idea to city officials,

"Failure to allow this first-class investment will prevent the mall from stabilizing and could be the end of the property as an enclosed mall," officials said in its plans to the city of Milford, according to Patch. "Failure to invest now could cause the property to be one of the malls that does not survive the shakeout."

The proposed 300-unit apartment complex for the mall at 1201 Boston Post Road, which would be built in the southeast corner of the mall's parking lot, will include a gym and a pool. Of these apartments, 135 will be one-bedroom units, another 135 will have two bedrooms, and 30 will have three. 

If the complex is approved, its construction process will take up to an estimated two years.

According to a presentation given by real estate company Centennial Real Estate to the Milford Planning and Zoning board, the Connecticut Post Mall is not only the largest mall in the state, but also the largest taxpayer in the City of Milford, paying $3.8 million in taxes in 2019 alone. As a result of the mall's economic decline, the company said, their dole of yearly tax dollars shrinks each year, and visitors to the mall have dropped by 20 percent since 2015 (yearly, the mall sees approximately six million customers per year).

The assessed value of the mall property has declined from $176 million in 2010 to $149 million now, according to the document, and in recent years many stores there, like J.C. Penny, Sears, Payless, Justice, Charlotte Russe, Hallmark, New York and Company, GNC, Yankee Candle, Red Robin, Bar Louie and Abercrombie and Fitch.

Centennial Real Estate said that the new complex would create an estimated 372 jobs within the first year, and an additional 117 permanent jobs in its second year and onward.

The company attempted to convince the Planning and Zoning Board to allow them to sidestep several zoning regulations. For example, per city law, an apartment complex must sit on a minimum of 20 acres and not exceed a certain height; the company asks that the building sit on four acres and stretch up to five stories or 85 feet. 

The proposal will be discussed again at their Oct. 6 meeting.

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