What Should Take Smiles' Place in Milford?

The sizable building on the Post Road is vacant. What would you like to see there?

Let's call this a modern spin on community planning - Patch's version of a charette, a digital drawing board where all ideas are on the table.

Each week we'll present a new vacant building and ask you to tell us what you think would be the best use. Forget what zone it's in, ignore setback regulations, dump lot coverage rules and all the other zoning jargon that puts people most to sleep. If you had your way, what would you like to see there? What would be the best use for the community?

We launch this new weekly series by featuring the now vacant building at 1607 Boston Post Road, the former home of Smiles Entertainment Center.

For more than two decades, the building played host to parties and good times through its array of activities, including an arcade, laser tag, mini golf, billiards and boat rides. But on Aug. 9, Smiles announced on its Facebook page that the business was closing.

In an article published two days later in the Milford Bulletin, Milford's Economic Development Director, Robert Gregory, said he expects demand to be high for the space, which is diagonally across from Whole Foods Market - Milford and just up the street from the Westfield Shopping Town.

Nearly three months later and the building is still vacant. What would you like to see go in there?

RONALD M GOLDWYN November 01, 2011 at 04:51 PM
Mike I will gratefully accept your offer on behalf of Lions International, whose President is asking every club in the world to plant at least one tree. The Milford club needs one to plant in the spring. Ron Goldwyn Past-President, Life Member, Secretary Emeritus and Current Treasurer.
Bill November 01, 2011 at 05:53 PM
Open space on the Post Road is a joke. We need more open space like a fish needs a bicycle. And Milford can't even manage the open space it has -- e.g., Eisenhower Park.
Sue Sawyer November 01, 2011 at 07:22 PM
Stew Leonards would be great but would cause such a traffic nightmare in that location. How about a great seafood restaurant like Chowder Pot. Was terrible when Dakota closed down. That restaurant had great food and didn't want to leave. Maybe get them to come back in this space. No more banks, furniture stores or car dealers. They've clogged up that road already.
Sue Sawyer November 01, 2011 at 07:25 PM
How about an animal Emergency Center like Shoreline in Shelton. It would be open late at night when very little traffic on that road so people could get their sick and injured pets help quickly. Part could be subdivided into pet related things like dog training, grooming, etc.
Jim Goldstein November 01, 2011 at 08:56 PM
Our young adults, (Teenagers), need a place to safely meet and interact with each other. What ever or who ever develops the old Smiles location I hope will keep this in mind.
Clair Gray November 01, 2011 at 09:16 PM
Yesssss!!! Definitely more trees, don't we have enough of everything already? How many Targets, grocery stores, etc does one city need?
bozo November 01, 2011 at 09:25 PM
How about a family oriented restaurant/bar with a NASCAR motif with a track in the back for bicycles and go carts? Bozo
Larissa Watt November 01, 2011 at 10:44 PM
I love that idea bozo. A huge, family oriented restaurant with a theme would be awesome. Even as Smiles went downhill, I still enjoyed dining and playing there. How about another Rainforest Cafe? That would be sooooo cool. Also, along the lines of what Jim Goldstein said , let's keep our kids in mind. How about a recreation center for the children of Milford and Orange? I also love the idea of a pet rescue center as a few others mentioned.
RONALD M GOLDWYN November 01, 2011 at 10:48 PM
Folks when I was very young the Great Neck School System bought a summer stock theatre and converted it into a Youth Center for school kids that also contained a Ice-cream, soda bar and hamburgers. 30 years later it became an alternative education school. Right now we have a vacant school where the police want to use as a sub-station. Why not also use that building as a youth center for dating teens or just for after school activities. It is needed in the absense of other places. This propery -Smiles is just too expensive to use for non-profit purposes. RON GOLDWYN I’d love a 74th birthday present from you on Election day.
WJB November 01, 2011 at 11:59 PM
Hey Ron Goldwyn...I'd love to give you a very special birthday gift on election day...your retirement!!! You've been monopolizing this site for your own political gain and I think it's time you put it to rest. I wish people would see you for who you really are...a leech!!! Please vote for the other opponents on election day.
George November 02, 2011 at 12:38 AM
I just hope who ever gets the PZB job makes it a lot easier for businesses to open and homeowners to build. Common sense streamlining needs to be done in that department. Bad enough the taxes in this state stifle what businesses we have. ;(
Ortal November 02, 2011 at 12:46 AM
Yes, trees and greenery would be awesome, but a Stews seems more realistic. go stews! I love stews!
RONALD M GOLDWYN November 02, 2011 at 12:54 AM
WJB, I wonder who you would pick on if I was not present. I have but one opponent who is also a senior citizen, but not quite as experienced as myself. Just what in the body of my copy turns you off? Surely it can't be my signature that turns you off? Are you a Grinch that you would not wish me a Happy Birthday? As for my occupation, I am trying to offer the residents of my Election District the benefit of my experience. It is my opponent that I would like to see remain in political retirement. I've not monopolized this site but added my comments to this site by relating historic anadotal comment that were part of my life during the past 50 active years. Because I no longer have to work to eat and house myself is no reason for me to be a leech on my community. since my retirement on medical grounds I have given public service to my two communites and not just lip service. Yesterday, I was informed that the American Red Cross will honor me for my record of Blood donation and there is only one way to earn that award. RON GOLDWYN I’d love a 74th birthday present from you on Election day.
RONALD M GOLDWYN November 02, 2011 at 01:07 AM
George, I agree with you, I resent that two items went by default because the staff didn't know a clock was running. I also don' like that they make so many of our residents appeal their decisions to the Zoning Board of Appeals. It is my aim to see that the PZB is not the enemy of the citizens, but rather their assistant. RON GOLDWYN I’d love a 74th birthday present from you on Election day.
RONALD M GOLDWYN November 02, 2011 at 01:14 AM
many of us would like to do business with Stew Leonards, but the reality of what happened in Orange turned them off on this region. Now their land there is for sale. I had hoped that they would have bought from the city of Milford the land where Lowes now stands but there was many a slip twix the cup and the lip. Ron
Alm November 02, 2011 at 02:42 AM
Anthropoligie, Pottery Barn, or Crate & Barrel.
Charles Southworth November 02, 2011 at 02:50 AM
Charles Southworth November 02, 2011 at 03:03 AM
Firstly, the Smiler's space is in a commercially zoned area - consequently no one is going to turn it into a park or animal shelter (unfortunately). That said, the town government DOES have an obligation to the PEOPLE of Milford to ensure that whatever business opens there is BENEFICIAL to the community - and that does not mean "increasing revenue for Milford through taxes". That is a political excuse to shoe-horn anyone who will pay into that spot. I certainly HOPE the government re-considers their stance and offers a tax holiday to any new business willing to 1. renovate the exterior so that it looks pleasing and 2. Will guarantee occupation for 5 years. It would be great to see a nice new restaurant (not another chain fast food) or market like Stew Leonard's, or even several upscale retail shops. In general, the Post road in Milford is dismal and ugly, it has become a destination town and as such your taxes have increased to pay for the cement/tar, new traffic lights, sewage, refuse, etc. that such an infrastructure requires. It has also caused a drastic increase in crime. What really bothers me is that there are some politicians and even some people who are lulled into a fantasy world that more building and construction is good for the town, creates more jobs and gives all a better life - this is not true. The jobs never last, the cost is GIGANTIC and residents ultimately pay the price!
BJ November 02, 2011 at 09:39 AM
I like the idea of Stew's at the old cinemas. Make it happen when you're elected!
Carol King November 02, 2011 at 10:53 AM
I'd love to see a dedicated yoga studio set up shop.
Tessa Marquis November 02, 2011 at 12:11 PM
Scribner's is a seafood restaurant, with other foods as well.
Corey Sipe November 02, 2011 at 02:23 PM
Someone had mentioned Dave and Buster's. I think that would be a great addition to Milford and would attract more folks to the Boston Post Road commercial area. They have great food and awesome bars, a nice group room for parties and events, and their arcade is a lot of fun. I encourage town government to reach out to them as they are expanding their company. They will be opening a new stand-alone location in December in Braintree, Mass. I have been to their Providence Place Mall location and always have a great time.
TinaF November 02, 2011 at 03:38 PM
Yes, yes, and yes!
safia seraj November 02, 2011 at 07:15 PM
trees please!
Ray Mond Stevenson November 03, 2011 at 02:29 AM
a teen cemnter for milford kids only to stay out of trouble to see concerts
RONALD M GOLDWYN November 04, 2011 at 09:05 AM
Judgeing from the size of Smiles, Id say it would make a perfect funeral home or another furmiture store in that area. It is too big for a restaurant and too small for Stew Leonards (not enough parking). Stew can't go in the Cherry street theatre site as it would put Shoprite out of business.How about a medical center in Smiles? Oh we still have 49 other vacant sites to find occupants for. Tis a puzzlement.
Uncle Mark November 04, 2011 at 08:44 PM
Bunny Ranch East. Probably would never go out of business.
Priscilla Lynn January 09, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Just read all the comments. There have been several great suggestions, and I'm glad to see Milford Patch readers actively sharing. Suggest when there's public meetings seeking residents input to the master plan for Milford, more public attend. Meanwhile, I myself would love to see a good old-fashioned rolling skating rink put on the Smiles site. Good, clean, family fun, maybe even serve to launch another competitive sport for our youth (think: isn't Milford Ice Rink a nice family-oriented place?) - plus a place where people of all ages could participate in some physical exercise while having fun. And I believe it would draw visitors from many surrounding towns if marketed and promoted correctly. Is there any insightful and bold developer who will step up to the plate here and put Milford on the map with a Rolling Skating Rink for this site?
arkay January 27, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Open space would be fantastic, but probably unrealistic. My first choice though. Some other ideas: 1. Dave & Buster's - brings in a lot of people from the whole region, mostly young professionals 2. Crate & Barrel - area seems like the perfect demographic for it, and right across from Whole Foods and other higher end shops 3. Do something like Grand Prix NY in Mt. Kisco with a really cool, modern indoor go kart track. 4. Divide into 2 restaurant PAD's - Joe's Crab Shack, Ruby Tuesday, etc.
arkay January 27, 2012 at 06:12 AM
Also, once the economy comes back the town should be very wary on developing any new sites and conservative about Route 1. Allowing languishing and vacant spots to fill back up and then occupy more lots south of the mall area would be a huge mistake. That kind of sprawl growth is unsustainable. More effort should be made in developing downtown in the spirit of new urbanism.


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