News

Another pharmacy coming to Milford?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

By KATHY CLEVELAND

Staff Writer

MILFORD – A Hampton real estate development company wants to build a drug store on Elm Street, across West Street from the Rite Aid Pharmacy.

Tropic Star Development LLC went to the Planning Board on Oct. 16 to gather feedback on its plan to build a 13,225-square-foot store with 73 parking spaces to be located in the area where the Xtra Mart/Citgo station is now. Four additional properties on Elm and West streets would also be used to create a 1.78 acre lot for the pharmacy, which would have a drive-through and access on Elm and West streets.

Three properties on West Street and the Elm Street property adjacent to the Xtra Mart would be included in the plans and the houses would be torn down.

Planning Board members suggested building a pharmacy further west in Milford, perhaps near the Irving gas station, so people in towns to the north and west don’t have to drive so far.

There is no drug store near Wilton, Lyndeborough, Greenville or Greenfield, said Paul Amato.

James Mitchell, of Tropic Star, said site selection is based upon market analysis, and the company had tried without success to find a suitable location near Market Basket.

Planning Board members were also concerned about the effect of the store on Elm Street traffic, the design of the entrances and exits, and having parking spaces on the Elm Street side of the building.

Some were not happy about the loss of the houses and questioned the building of a drug store immediately across the street from another drug store.

“I’m not convinced this is a good trade-off,” said board member Kathy Bauer, when the added traffic, a large visible parking lot and the loss of the houses are all considered.

Amato said he liked the fact that the developer would continue to own the property and noted that the landscaping at the Rite Aid across the street is not “overly maintained.”

Mitchell said his company is working on eight pharmacy projects and it will remain the property owner and lease the land and building to a pharmacy. He indicated he would come back to the board with some modifications to the plan.

All the properties are under contract with the developer, said Town Planner Jodie Levandowski, in an email this week, though the project is in a “very conceptual stage at this time, since no formal application has been submitted to the town.”

According to Polly Cote, of the Milford Historical Society, the owner of the house adjacent to Xtra Mart received an award from the town Heritage Commission several years ago for its renovation.

The land was once part of the farm of Rev. Humphrey Moore, Milford’s first minister, a farm he called “Old Dominion.” It is currently divided into apartments and a business appears to be run out of the barn.

Mitchell said the company would retain the barn of the Elm Street house for storage.

There are currently four drug stores in Milford, three Rite Aids and a Walgreens. Board members commented that drug stores have become the modern-day equivalent of mom and pop convenience stores.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304, or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

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