Plans are still in place to develop a shopping center called Litchfield Crossings at 169 Danbury Road.

Paul Scalzo, principal in Danbury Road Developers which plans to build the 282,000-square-foot center, has not given up hope despite the economic downturn.

The project has been changed to two phases.

Phase one would consist of the construction of three buildings in the southwest corner of the site (just past Taco Bell) totaling 20,500 square feet and associated parking, drainage, landscaping and utilities.

The building would hold a bank, a phone store and a restaurant. The major tenant would be an A T & T Mobility store. The buildings would be roadside, in line with Rite Aid and Taco Bell.

Phase two would be constructing the remaining buildings totaling some 261,500 square feet, and associated site improvements.

The two-phase plan was suggested to Mr. Scalzo by the state Traffic Commission as a way to expedite its approval process.

Phase one is ready to go.

The holdup has been waiting to receive a permit for encroachment on a state highway (Route 7) from the state traffic commission. Mr. Scalzo recently requested a meeting with the group in an attempt to speed the process.

"When you deal with the state it's a matter of paperwork and takes time," Mr. Scalzo said last week. "We're anxious to start work on the south end; we're just waiting for the STC to grant the encroachment. We're ready to pick up the permits in New Milford as soon as the state comes through."

Mr. Scalzo said the town has been "great to work with."

With the downturn in the economy in September 2008, Target, which was to be the anchor store for the entire project, "pushed out its time line" just as Danbury Road Developers and the chain were ready to sign the lease, said Hal Kurfehs, listing agent for Litchfield Crossing and vice president of Coldwell Bankers Commercial.

Target said they were still interested, but realistically talks won't resume again with the chain about setting a date to open a store at the site until some time next year, Mr. Kurfehs said.