The opening of Bartaco has opened up the west bank of the Saugatuck River. A couple of nearby restaurants are coming soon; across the Post Road, Arezzo is drawing big crowds (despite limited parking).
Now there’s more good news.
As reported first on WestportNow.com, David Waldman has signed a contract to buy the Save the Children property next to Bartaco, on Wilton Road.
That’s 2.59 acres of prime riverfront property. Though Save the Children is an internationally known, very important non-profit, it doesn’t need that great location to do its good deeds. For a while now, the headquarters — previously Famous Artists Schools — has looked a bit dumpy.
Waldman will fix that.
Though sometimes controversial, his recent track record is impressive. He turned a dilapidated but historic Federal-style home into the wildly popular Spotted Horse restaurant, and breathed new life into what is now Urban Outfitters.
Now he’s remaking the other side of Church Lane. Bedford Square will bring a mix of retail, residential and office space to this vital but previously underutilized area of downtown.
It’s a project with plenty of moving parts. Throughout the long approval process, Waldman has listened to concerns — of taxpayers and town officials — and adapted well. He’s shown an interest in preservation, while understanding the needs of a suburban town re-imagining its entire downtown.
Bedford Square has had hiccups. But Waldman has shown a willingness to adapt, and a flexibility sometimes missing in past developments — his, and others.
I believe Waldman will show similar creativity and concern for his new Save the Children property. This is an enormous opportunity to remake a very cool, very important — and very overlooked — part of Westport.
I have no idea what Waldman will propose. I don’t know whether he bought the building and land because he already has a plan, or if he just realized the location, location, location was superb.
But I have faith he’ll turn it into something Westport can be proud of, and use to full advantage.
Waldman is a Westporter. His heart is here. That’s good news indeed for the future of our entire downtown.
Do you have a vision for the future use of Save the Children? Click “Comments” — and remember, full names please!