It looks like the corner of Commerce and Main Street in Milford is getting a restaurant back.
And it brings sharks.
Plans for an addition to the Milford House restaurant building, 113 E. Commerce, were recently submitted to the village. These plans include a 2,080 foot addition to the front of the restaurant, which would wrap around the front of the building near the current outdoor patio.
But the most unique feature will be a 20,000 gallon aquarium that is expected to hold several live sharks as the focal point inside the restaurant’s dining area.
“We already have the tank that’s been put in place. The fish are waiting for us in Key West, Florida,” said John Stewart, a Milford-based architect working on the project. “It will be quite a scene when you see these things.”
The restaurant will be under new ownership through an Ann Arbor limited company, and it looks like it will operate as Milford House.
The renovation plans were presented to the Milford Planning Commission at its March 8 meeting at the Milford Civic Center. There, the commissioners recommended the approval of the works of the restaurant – which closed last summer after 28 years of activity – but with several conditions.
Commissioner Karen Worrell said the shark tank will make space a destination.
“I think it’s something that will be a novelty,” she said.
Stewart said they are doing three-phase work on the property, with the first phase already underway. That work includes renovating the kitchen to get it up and running for service as early as next month, Stewart said. The second phase includes the renovation works and the addition of more interior space which was under review by the planning commission. The third phase will include work on the old wine bar, which Stewart says could return in a new format.
The main restaurant area should be family friendly, which could include entertainment activities in part of the restaurant with games such as pétanque. The wine bar space could serve as a more “adults only” atmosphere further in the future.
“This whole entertainment area, the area…is geared towards families,” Stewart said. “The north side of the family (area) will hopefully be an upscale steak and wine bar.”
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Several conditions to the recommended approval were set by the planning commission, including requiring the petitioner to submit a lighting plan for the site, limiting when deliveries could take place at the restaurant, and working with the village council to pay additional spaces into a parking fund. Plans submitted show a lack of parking at the site, according to an analysis by village planning consultant Giffels Webster.
Although there have been many discussions about the necessary conditions required by the commission, chairman John Heidt said he was happy to see activity returning to this part of Milford town center in the coming months .
“It’s good that the site is back in service,” he said. “It’s been (empty) for a while. We wish you luck.”