Chick-fil-A in Shelton: P&Z object to 'lacking,' outdated design

A Chick-fil-A restaurant design underwhelmed Shelton Planning and Zoning members Tuesday night. The fast food restaurant is part of a new development on Bridgeport Avenue.

It was one of the few issues the commission had with phase 1 design of Fountain Square LLC — a nine-building development at 801 Bridgeport Ave. The site was once home to the United Illuminating Western Service Center.

The commission approved phase 1 design of Fountain Square, but, are asking the national fast food chain to consider alternate, more visually appealing designs for its Shelton location.

“I look at this as a square box with no interest at all,” Commission Chairwoman Virginia Harger said, noting she has seen different designs used at other locations. “The design is really lacking. It doesn’t do anything to enhance the Fountain Square spirit at all.”

“Except pay the bills,” Commission member Elaine Matto quipped, adding the design looks like “something out of the 70’s.”

Attorney Dominick Thomas, who is representing the Fountain Square developers, said they are glad to have discussions with Chick-fil-A, though getting a national brand to change a design can be challenging.

“This is a mini-anchor,” Thomas said of the restaurant. “It’s the honey that draws the other bees.”

Commissioners compared the design to a coffee shop proposed for the development, which they described as much more attractive and interesting. The Chick-fil-A will be located near the front of Fountain Square, highly visible from Bridgeport Avenue.

“We’ve seen it with these other pods on Bridgeport Avenue,” Commission member Jimmy Tickey said. “They stand out and represent the whole development.”

Overall, Fountain Square will include three restaurants, a hotel, 31,000-square feet of retail, a bank, office space, coffee shop and a pharmacy. A small park is designed for the center of the project.

Attorney Thomas told the commission a Marriott Residence Inn will be the anchor hotel tenant. Thomas said the location won’t impact the Residence Inn already located at 1001 Bridgeport Ave. He explained the new location will focus  on corporate stays, while the other is an extended stay facility. The hotel will be included in a later design phase of the project to come before P&Z.

Project Architect Patrick Rose said some buildings at 801 Bridgeport Ave. have already been taken down. The steep topography will also be adjusted and rock in front will be removed.

The development includes adding a traffic light  at the intersection of Parrot Drive and Bridgeport Avenue .