You would think that a town home to the second world’s largest casino would lead to other development.
This has not been the case in Montville, home of the Mohegan Sun owned by the Mohegan Tribe, until now.
The 280,000 square foot Montville Commons shopping center, the largest commercial development in town, has not come without opponents.
Residents on nearby Portugal Lane were subject to a wall slide in October 2005 forcing residents to evacuate their homes after a week of rain lead to a collapse of a man-made wall.
The collapse occurred close to the construction of a Home Depot store.
After clean up, residents discovered their wells were contaminated and Atrium Development, owners of the center, paid to connect these homes to the town water line.
Weeks later, the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection secured a court injunction against Atrium to halt construction.
Shortly after that, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal filed a lawsuit against Atrium for violation of environmental law.
A fire at the Chili’s Restaurant which destroyed much of the building forced it to be rebuilt and significantly delayed.
While the original goal was to have the center open in spring 2006, the only component which opened in 2006 was Chili’s in November and the developer hopes to have the full center functional and operational by spring 2007.
More recently, residents complained of the illuminating lights and subsequently Atrium installed light shields and even removed a few of the lamps.
Home Depot has already opened its 104,556 square foot store with a 28,500 square foot Garden Center in a soft opening with a grand opening planned for February 14, 2007.
Home Depot has nearby stores in the Lisbon Landing Shopping Center in Lisbon, approximately 20 miles away, and a store located near the Crystal Mall in Waterford, about 15 miles away.
The center will also be anchored by a 63,200 square foot Super Stop and Shop Supermarket with a People’s Bank, Boston Market, and a pharmacy.
The Boston Market restaurant, which used to be located in Groton, has since closed and is probably one of the few aspects of the center which will feature a store or restaurant not already located within a 20 mile radius.
Super Stop and Shop’s nearest locations include one at the Norwichtown Mall, about 10 miles away, and a store in Waterford, about 25 miles away.
The store’s shelves are full but aisle signs and finishing touches are still being done.
A number of smaller stores ranging between 6,000 and 35,000 square feet will be located between the two anchors including Olympia Sports, Game Stop, Sleepy’s, Total Vision, Exotic Tains, Hair Cuttery, and Autumn Nails.
Sleepy’s, Game Stop, and Olympia Sports have locations in Waterford while Olympia Sports has a store in Lisbon.
These stores are still under construction and will probably not be open for another few months and a sign states that the center still has vacancies.
These vacancies include one 1,500 square feet, one 2,500 square feet, and one 4,000 square feet which will cost retailers approximately $24 a square foot per year.
A Chili’s Bar and Grill restaurant has opened down the street from the Home Depot and a second outparcel restaurant is also planned for the area.
Chili’s also has a nearby location at the New London Mall.
The center is expected to compete with the Midway Shopping Center on Route 32 at the other end of town which is anchored by a Beit Brothers Supermarket and Brooks Pharmacy.
It is expected the center would provide convenience to those living and traveling through Montville and nearby Norwich.
The shopping center is near a Microtel Inn and Suites hotel, is located right off Route 32, and is located about one block away from Route 2A.
It is located off Interstate 395 Exit 79A (Route 2A Expressway) and is near the Exit 1 ramps.
The center is one mile from the Mohegan Sun and expects to generate customers from workers going to the casinos.