Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
His name is David Waldman.
The Westport developer — whose downtown properties include the Patagonia building and the YMCA — also owns the Church Lane house sitting handsomely across from the Y’s Weeks Pavilion entrance.
Handsomely, but decrepitedly.
Waldman had planned to demolish the early 1800s Federal-style home, to put up (cue Joni Mitchell) a parking lot.
But he changed his mind.
His new plan is to preserve the facade, while renovating the interior for a restaurant. The building will be moved closer to the street; there’ll be outdoor seating, and a courtyard. Office space will be available on the 2nd floor.
There may also be a pedestrian walkway, and redevelopment of the office building behind it on the Post Road.
A new restaurant in an old home — and sprucing up that small but important street — will help downtown.
Meanwhile, maintaining — actually improving — the streetscape sends a crucial message that ripples far beyond Church Lane and the Post Road.
Old buildings count. They’re worth saving. If one of Westport’s biggest builders can find a way to save an old home downtown, some of our newest homeowners ought to be able to do the same everywhere else.
(The Historic District Commission and Architectural Review Board will review Waldman’s plan this Tuesday [Dec. 7], at 7 p.m. in Town Hall Room 201.)