Dog day care chain could move into Shelton Panera space

Photo of Brian Gioiele
The space at 850 Bridgeport Ave. that presently houses Panera Bread may soon be home to Dogtopia, a national dog care chain. Panera’s lease at the site runs out Dec. 31, after which a move to Fountain Square is planned.

The space at 850 Bridgeport Ave. that presently houses Panera Bread may soon be home to Dogtopia, a national dog care chain. Panera’s lease at the site runs out Dec. 31, after which a move to Fountain Square is planned.

Brad Durrell /

SHELTON - The city could soon be home to a national dog day care center chain.

The owners of Shelton Place, which is home to Staples, Panera and Domino’s Pizza at 850 Bridgeport Ave., are seeking approval for Dogtopia to set up shop in soon-to-be vacant space. Panera’s lease expires on Dec. 31, after which the eatery will be moving down the road to the under-construction Fountain Square.

Marvin Shiller, managing partner with the property owner, S&S Shelton Development, LLC, stated his company is seeking a modification to the Planned Development District, under which the site was originally developed.

Shiller said the dog day care center use is not covered under the existing Statement of Uses and Standards approved with the original PDD, requiring an application to the Planning and Zoning Commission seeking a major modification.

The application itself needs to be accepted by the Planning and Zoning Commission and then a public hearing will be set. This item was on the commission’s Nov. 9 agenda.

Dogtopia is a national chain of dog day care centers with more than 160 locations in the United States and Canada. The business offers dog care with daycare, grooming and overnight boarding services seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In all, the business will have 20 employees, six working each shift.

Shiller said Dogtopia owners target higher income locations, and “our tenant is the franchise owner of 16 Dogtopias throughout Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.”

The proposed owner also operates Connecticut locations in Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield and Milford, “and they see Shelton as a great fit,” Shiller added.

Dogtopia’s use would not require any structural modifications to the existing exterior or additional parking.

“Due to the nature of their business, Dogtopia will require significantly fewer parking spaces than a restaurant or a retailer,” Shiller said.

The past few years have been tough for landlords, he added.

“Since Panera has confirmed they will relocate to Fountain Square, we want to avoid having a vacant corner space in our center,” he said. “Given the ongoing challenges of COVID, we strongly feel that Dogtopia has many advantages over traditional restaurants and retailers and will have a solid business in our center.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com