A new Cumbies? Gas station/store planned across from Milford’s Lorden Plaza

MILFORD – A new Cumberland Farms store/gas station is proposed for Nashua Street, on the vacant lot between McDonald’s and Walgreens, where town officials had hoped a hotel would be built.

The existing store near the Milford Oval will most likely stay there, a company representative told the Planning Board when it met with developers this winter to discuss the plans.

A design consultant brought drawings to the meeting for a 4,500-square-foot convenience store with four gasoline dispenser islands and eight filling stations and a small outdoor seating area.

Board members asked about building design, traffic flow, landscaping, delivery truck movements and sidewalks.

Before the economy declined in 2008, a
Ninety-Nine Restaurant had been planned for part of the lot. The town’s Community Development Department and Economic Development Committee had hoped the presence of a restaurant would attract a hotel developer to the site. Two years ago, a sub-committee to the Economic Development Advisory Committee was formed to determine the feasibility of recruiting a lodging facility.

A report from Pinnacle Advisory Group, commissioned by the town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee in 2011, said a 60-room hotel would fill a need for lodging.

Approximately 2,400 corporate travelers visit Milford for an average stay of one to two nights, according to the report, and there are about 16 businesses and organizations that would be potential users.

Those who responded to the firm’s survey were “very enthusiastic” about the idea of a hotel and a chance to have visitors – including executives, sales representatives and engineers – use a hotel in Milford, rather than going to Nashua, Manchester or Merrimack.

The consultant’s report also found, however, that “given the cost of construction for a 60-65 room limited-service hotel,” there might not be enough mid-week corporate demand for hotel rooms and incentives from the town would be needed to induce potential developers.

Other than the Milford Motel and one or two bed and breakfasts, there are no overnight accommodations between Nashua and Peterborough, and people say there is no convenient place to accommodate wedding guests, for example, and there is not enough conference meeting space.

John Samonas is the Portsmouth real estate developer who owns the 8.5-acre property where the Ninety-Nine Restaurant was supposed to go. He said the downturn in the economy stalled plans for the restaurant.

New store design

Chris Tymula, of MHF Design Consultants, described the design for the new store as “very colonial with a pitched roof and faux dormers on top.”

He also talked about how groundwater protection, storm runoff and fire suppression would be handled.

The discussion was preliminary, and the board has not yet accepted a formal site plan.

Cumberland Farms has almost 600 stores in 11 states and employs more than 6,000 people, according to the corporate website. New store designs feature freshly prepared hot sandwiches, a shake machine and no-fee ATMs.

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