Anyone walking around downtown Westport can see that there are clearly some major developments occurring. This is all due to Bedford Square: a new project, currently run by the Downtown Plan Implementation Committee, that will bring Westporters new shopping, dining, office, and residential opportunities. Estimated to be finished in late 2016 to early 2017, this project was designed to refurbish and enhance Westport’s downtown and Main Street area with complete renovations of the Bedford building and historic Firehouse, and removal (and replacement) of the old YMCA building, along with the other buildings on the adjoining Gunn property.
The specific areas of construction include, Elm Street, Main Street, and Church Lane. Designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, specifically Jeff Riley, a founding member of Centerbrook, this project will connect the old and new, providing Westport with fresh designs while still maintaining its historical charm.
David Waldman, President of David Adam Reality, says, “I’m hoping we will become the envy of Fairfield County and a model for other communities to understand how they can hold their historical assets, readapt them and yet keep the character that was once the original.”
Leading national retailer, Anthropology, will be inhabiting a 40,000 square foot structure, out of the entire 110,000 square foot redevelopment, that will include the popular Anthropology clothing store, a home store, a beauty store and salon, a bridal shop, and even a restaurant and cafe. After about 10 years of planning, this $100 million dollar venture will take about two years of building and construction. Project developer, Bedford Square Associates, has made sure that there’s not only commercial and residential offerings, but expanded parking as well. Over 100 underground parking spaces will be added with an entrance across from the Christ and Holy Trinity church parking lot and the public town owned lot located on Elm street.
Avery Mendillo ’18, who has been going downtown since she was five, is no stranger to the shopping on Main Street. Mendillo commented, “I’m really looking forward to seeing how it all turns out. And the new Anthropology, of course.”
Engineering and Environmental services are being provided by Langan Engineering and Environmental Services. Funding for this downtown project has been privately administered by key investors.
Certain roads and intersections will be closed for cement pouring and other construction for the foreseeable future. The general public traffic will be detoured via Elm Street. Two way traffic will only pass overnight exclusively for construction vehicles.
Though the construction may be disrupting the traffic now, hopefully it will all be worth it. Morgan Rizy ’18 believes this. Rizy said, “I think that right now it is kind of obstructive, but in the future when the construction is complete it could be a great asset for our town and attract more businesses.”
A mural hand painted by Westporters wraps around much of the construction, brightening up the work with a small piece of our town and our people. With so many vivid colors and characters being depicted, the painting shows the strong strong sense of community that brings Westport together.