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Smiles/Milford Amusements To Be Redeveloped Into a Panera Bread

It's the end of an era as the former kids destination spot becomes a retail center.

The redeveloped Smiles/Milford Amusement Center will include a new drive-thru Panera Bread and other retail issues, according to meeting minutes from the Economic Development Commission. 

Kevin McManus and John Knuff recently presented their proposed development of the current Smiles Entertainment site, on the Boston Post Road. 

They will be working with Panera for a drive through, Verizon and a possible sporting goods store, meeting minutes states. They have been working with Archtitect Ray Oliver to break up the façade with some columns and different materials.

John Knuff represents C & G Milford, which is the property owner of the former Smiles site and his client Kevin McManus from Capelli Enterprises. Capelli Enterprises will be submitting applications soon for redeveloping the Smiles site. 

The Inland/Wetlands Department approved this project in one night because of the dramatic improvements to the site, meeting minutes state. 

The site is an oddly configured parcel and there are wetlands and water courses that affect the parcel, but there will be drastic improvements to every piece of the site, meeting minutes state. 

They have a 7-½ acre parcel but they are only developing approximately 36,000 square feet. 

Kevin McManus continued stating that they have partnered with the Gettlin family to reposition this venture as a state of the art and up-to-date facility and bring in some uses that are consistent with the quality that is on the Post Road, meeting minutes state.

McManus said it was important to his firm to come up with new architectural themes that will tie in with the existing properties. 

To improve traffic flow they have made an arrangement with the adjoining property owner to the north to be able to tie the parking lot into their parking lot which is Chase that would both come out at the traffic light. This will be a huge improvement. The site will have a roadway that supplies parking underneath the building. 

Do you believe this is a good use for the former Smiles' property? Do you remember the old Milford Amusements days? 


Linda Haas July 01, 2014 at 10:34 PM
Too bad couldn't have a nice little hangout coffee/book shop that isn't starbucks or dnd. Like Atticus or Booktraders in new haven...Open mic or acoustic venue...
Dennis Wan July 02, 2014 at 12:24 AM
I want my DDR machines back! I wished we get the updated arcades like Japan does, but NOOOOO!!!
MikeP July 02, 2014 at 09:47 AM
MiniGolf. Set far back from the main road. Its 25 min drive to the middle of nowhere to go to Sports Center of CT. I wonder what else they would put there. From Google Maps it looks like a massive lot. Panera and Verizon are fairly small shops.
Shira Kostika July 02, 2014 at 02:46 PM
I remember when it was Milford Amusement Center all those years ago and my parents would take me out for a fun day indoors. I think that the development is ok (do we really need another Panera Bread?) although I wish there would be an eatery there that hasn't made a much needed appearance yet in CT- like a Dave&Busters. Something that would echo the arcade that once was.
Tmc July 13, 2014 at 11:33 PM
Arcades are passe what with LARP so popular today. A site like Going to the Game in North Haven or similar is what should be put there.

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