Council to Discuss RFP for Washington St Property

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By Terry Rogers

In 2015, the City of Milford adopted a strategic plan created by Arnett, Muldrow & Associates designed to promote growth in the downtown area. In the plan, which has been named Rivertown Rebirth, the planning company suggested adding a mixed-use development along the river on property currently owned by the City.

According to the plan, the Riverwalk is a significant asset to the town, providing a pedestrian route that is adjacent to the downtown area. One area of the Riverwalk, the former site of the City Water Treatment Plant and  currently home to a basketball court, was identified as a prime location for an infill development to address the need for more residential units downtown. The development was tentatively named “Riverplace on the Mispillion” with artist renderings showing a multi-story complex with living units on the upper floors and retail on the first floor.

“The first floors of any proposed infill development should include restaurant and retail uses that front the Riverwalk,” the plan explained. “By including outdoor dining decks for the restaurants, the Riverwalk would be further activated as people like to see and be seen. The upper two floors should include housing options such as apartments or condominiums as preferred by the developer. The third floor should step back from the second to both introduce balcony or rooftop deck options as well to cause the dominant architectural form to be two stories in height, similar to most of the buildings in downtown Milford.”

On Monday, December 12, 2016, City Planner Rob Pierce presented an introduction to a Request for Proposal (RFP) to begin searching for a highly-qualified and creative real estate development firm to lease or purchase the land and create a vibrant, mixed-use development. The parcels are situated on the southern banks of the Mispillion River across from Arena’s Deli & Bar and is the former location of the City’s water treatment plant. The plant has been removed and replaced with a new plant located behind the City’s Customer Service Department.

“What we want to do is begin soliciting proposals from developers who would be interested in completing this project,” Mr. Pierce said. “It will require the City to create a C-2A Riverfront Development Zoning District. Planning Commission has reviewed the amendment and City Council will review it on January 9, 2017. The Planning Commission will vote on the plan on January 17 and Council on January 23. If it is approved, the RFP would be advertised starting January 24, 2017.” According to the timeline provided by Mr. Pierce in the Council packet, the goal is to have negotiations completed and a firm selected by May 2017.

Mayor Bryan Shupe said that adding the mixed-use facility in the downtown area would be beneficial to economic growth as it would place 30 to 40 families within walking distance to downtown businesses. Councilman Chris Mergner said that he was excited to see the ideas that developers would provide to the City and that the project would be very helpful to the downtown area.

“We want to be sure we protect the Riverwalk and that the buildings fit in with those that already exist downtown,” Mayor Shupe said. “There is a lot happening downtown. Lifecycle has announced they are moving into the building recently vacated by the florist. Touch of Italy will open in March and Lou’s Bootery has been purchased with the plan to rehabilitate it.”

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