CONNECTICUT POST CENTER
Boston Post Road / US 1 and Interstate 95
Milford, Connecticut

Building began on the Nutmeg State's first shopping mall in November 1957. Developed by New York City's Sol Atlas and designed by Jesse James Hamblin, CONNECTICUT POST CENTER occupied a 75 acre parcel, located 6 miles southwest of downtown New Haven, in suburban Milford.

The mall site was adjacent to a newly-completed segment of the Connecticut Turnpike (Interstate 95). The 500,000 square foot, open-air complex, hailed as the largest between New York City and Boston, consisted of a single level of retail with a service basement beneath.

On September 14, 1960, the first stores in the 30 million dollar shopping venue opened for business. The grand opening commenced at 7 pm and extended into the night. It included fireworks, a parade, dancing, fashion shows, concerts and appearances by several dignitaries.

Fifty stores and services would eventually be housed in CONNECTICUT POST CENTER. These included County Hardware, Franklin-Simon, Kennedy's of New England, a W.T. Grant variety store, S.S. Kresge 5 & 10, Bradlees "suburban self-service department store" and Stop & Shop supermarket.

New York City-based Alexander's opened a 3-level (155,000 square foot) anchor store on August 21, 1962. This was the sixth unit in the chain and the first outside the New York City metropolitan area. The General Cinema Corporation Milford Cinema was built as a southwest parking lot outparcel. Originally a single-screen venue, it was officially dedicated April 2, 1965.

TRUMBULL SHOPPING PARK {5 miles west, in Trumbull} became the first retail competitor, in 1964. This was followed by CHAPEL SQUARE MALL, New Haven's downtown redevelopment shopping center, which was completed in 1967.

By the early 1970s, several charter tenants at CONNECTICUT POST CENTER had been replaced. The shopping hub now hosted tenants such as Giftique, Lynn's Hallmark, Whelan Drug, Friendly Frost Appliances and a Hill's supermarket. The Post Mini-Mall housed twelve stores and services.

A fire spread through the south end of the mall in May 1976. The area was rebuilt as a 2-level (86,000 square foot) Caldor discount mart. The 27th store in the Norwalk, Connecticut-based chain, it opened for business April 27, 1977.

The mallway of the complex was fitted with a SkyShield type of partial enclosure in the late 1970s. This afforded some protection from the elements, but did not provide for heating or air-conditioning of the space.

In 1981, Australia-based Westfield Holdings (now the Westfield Group) acquired the complex and renovated it into a fully-enclosed and climate-controlled structure. It was promoted as CONNECTICUT POST MALL (with locals usually referring to it as "MILFORD MALL"). The retail hub encompassed approximately 800,000 leasable square feet.

Alexander's became the first of the original anchors to close, in 1988. This store re-opened as a J.C. Penney August 7, 1991. At the same time, the shopping center was undergoing a third renovation and expansion, to the tune of 75 million dollars. A 2-level (150,000 square foot), Hartford-based G. Fox was built. It opened in 1991 and was rebranded, by Boston-based Filene's, February 1, 1993.

In the following year, the basement at CONNECTICUT POST MALL was refitted as a second retail concourse (Level 1). In addition, the Sky View Food Court was installed on a newly-constructed Level 3. The official name of the complex was changed to WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN CONNECTICUT POST in November 1998. More expansions were to come.

The Stop & Shop supermarket moved to a freestanding location. Its store on the north end of the mall was razed, with a 2-level (178,000 square foot) Sears taking its place. It opening for business April 1, 2000. Caldor had been shuttered May 15, 1999.

A groundbreaking for a major renovation was held October 12, 2004. The vacant Caldor, and some of the adjacent stores on the mall's south end, were demolished. 480,000 square feet of new retail and entertainment area was constructed; including a 1-level (125,000 square foot) Target, 2-level (84,000 square foot) Dick's Sporting Goods, 9-bay Food Court, a Cinema de Lux multiplex and two parking garages.

Target was dedicated March 1, 2006, with Cinema de Lux showing its first features March 10th. At the same time, a third level (consisting of 75,000 square feet) was added to Filene's. The store, now encompassing 225,000 square feet, was rebranded by Macy's in September 2006.

Now officially known as WESTFIELD CONNECTICUT POST, the complex encompassed 1,334,000 leasable square feet and housed over one hundred and fifty stores and services. Its Cinema de Lux 14 was rebranded as a Rave Motion Pictures venue in May 2010. In November of the same year, one of its auditoriums re-opened as an IMAX theater. In June 2013, the venue was rebranded by the Cinemark chain.

A consortium of San Antonio's USAA Real Estate, Dallas' Centennial Real Estate and San Francisco's Montgomery Street Partners bought the shopping center in December 2015. Its official name soon reverted back to CONNECTICUT POST MALL.

Sources:

The Bridgeport Sunday Post
The Bridgeport Sunday Herald
The New Haven Register
www.contact.com / "Keys To The Highway" / Melissa Nicefaro / July 8, 2002
www.fusco.com (Fusco Construction)
Assessor's Online Database For Milford County
"Westfield Connecticut Post" article on Wikipedia
"Filene's" article on Wikipedia
"Wavz 13" Flickr Photostram
www.associatedcontent.com / "Cinema de Lux Key Feature In New Mall Addition" / Posted by Corey Sipe / August 15, 2006
www.westfield.com (The Westfield Group)
www.centennial.com (Centennial Real Estate)

FAIR USE OF CONNECTICUT POST IMAGE:

The graphic from The Bridgeport Sunday Herald illustrates a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The image is of lower resolution than the original (copies made would be of inferior quality). The image is not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The use of the image does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the image in any way. The image is being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and its use is not believed to detract from the original image in any way.