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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.

“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.

If 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.”

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