Save The Children May Soon Sell

Big changes may be coming to downtown Westport.

Save the Children — the 94-year-old international aid organization — is soliciting bidders for its Wilton Road international headquarters. Private Capital Group recently sent out “For Sale” information on 54 Wilton Road. That’s Save the Children’s address, and photos showed the exterior of the 58,771-square foot building.

Save the Children moved to the west bank of the Saugatuck River in the mid-1970s. Before that, the low-slung 2-story offices housed Famous Artists School.

Save the Children's Wilton Road headquarters.

Save the Children’s Wilton Road headquarters.

“Last year, when the news broke that Save the Children was repositioning people around the world, I had an intuition they’d leave the building,” says Lou Gagliano, chairman of Downtown 2020. He has a keen interest in any potential moves: His committee is developing a master plan for downtown Westport.

Lou has heard “unconfirmed rumors” that the 2.6-acre site may be sold for townhouses, or mixed retail/residential use.

Any change from offices would have profound implications for downtown Westport.

Save the ChildrenIf townhouses are built, Lou says, a walking bridge across the river — one of the most intriguing parts of a new downtown plan — would be an important selling point.

Also key: discussion of impacts any changes would have on Wilton Road traffic.

“I’m positively disposed” to residential development if Save the Children sells, Lou says. He is waiting to hear who any bidders might be.

He adds: “This really emphasizes the need for a comprehensive town plan.”

36 responses to “Save The Children May Soon Sell

  1. The perfect spot for the new Westport Galleria Mall. Stand by …

  2. Save the Y ?

  3. Another citizen

    Lets get someone who pays taxes in that spot!!!

  4. Richard A. Epstein

    Wouldn’t it be serendipity if somehow the Westport Arts Center could relocate to the old site of the Famous Artists School!

    The town (and a landlord) has given the film initiative a nod recently, and bringing the WAC to a more central location would be a step towards unifying the town again.

    What a perfect location. What a move to make Westport a better walking town!

    Richard Epstein

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    Office: (203) 222-1227

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  5. The Y could do for the west bank what the library and Levitt did for the former dump / landfill. I don’t look forward to having to find my way to Mahakeno. Walking the bridge would be much preferred.

    • That boat has sailed.

    • “I don’t look forward to having to find my way to Mahakeno. ”

      Google Maps is Your Friend! I find the site to be very useful!

      • Wilton Road Resident

        Those of us who live on Wilton Road don’t look forward to it, either. People really do not understand the impact the Y will have on traffic. But whatever.

        • Sank T. Monious

          It was a stupid idea and it continues to be a stupid idea.

        • I bet you won’t even notice any difference.

          Same as all the other Apocalyptic changes in town that never materialized when a new development was proposed and then built.

          Just more Chicken Littls screaming their heads off over a non-issue.

        • there is little to no impact from the Wilton Y’s location on traffic- people will not be traveling in and out of the new Y location with the current road/traffic flow situation. The plan takes into consideration a new traffic flow. Yes, there are allot of cars that go in and out of a Y but not at the same time. Plus as Anonymous said” that boat has sailed”!!

          • Magical thinking at it’s best. The area is already a traffic nightmare, and all the Y activity will hit during the rush hours (the afternoon rush starts at 3:00 PM at exit 41). And, better yet, every single construction vehicle will snake it’s way up Wilton Road during the construction process.

            The Y may have secured the right to develop the Mahakeno property – but they didn’t secure the right to create their own the reality. All of us neighbors are stuck that.

            • SUX2BU

              • Spoken like a true Y supporter – with love and joy for all their neighbors. What an unpleasant group of do-gooders.

              • Wow. You’re a jerk. I’m guessing you either 1.) don’t live in Westport or 2.) don’t live anywhere near Wilton Road location or 3.) could care less and have been brainwashed by the Y goons

            • Do you use the current Y? Is the traffic flow convenient? The existing Y and the two restaurants across the street from it create a traffic nighmare at certain times of the day. The current facility is inadequate, but more to the point, for better or worse, the longing for a downtown Y will amount to nothing.

              • Wilton Road Resident

                Do you live on Wilton Road? Do you live near the new site of the Y? Hush up.

                You have no idea what it’s already like. Add in the construction and subsequent result, and it will be a mess.

        • westport mom

          did you not consider traffic when you were buying a house on the highway?

  6. Ned Zigfield

    Before the zoners and the planners get all giddy with delight about their dreams of grandeur, perhaps we ought to see what the free market decides is the most appropriate use for the site.

  7. Sank T. Monious

    The downtown Y was probably appropriate when there was a downtown worth visiting for anything other than conspicuous consumption at the mall. That was long ago. Looks like everybody is getting what they want not necessarily what they deserve. STC would be a fantastic place for a Y/ rec center I can hear the original Famous Artists cheering the idea.

  8. Mary Ruggiero

    Good grief – what a fascinating conversation!