UPDATE: Y Purchases Red Barn

Confirming a rumor that has circulated for months, the Westport Weston Family Y announced this morning that they have purchased the Red Barn property.

Update: “06880” reported this morning that earlier this year, the Y denied buying the property. CEO Pat Riemersma says that “whenever talking about the Red Barn, we have indicated no comment because of a confidentiality agreement in the purchase agreement.”

Early this afternoon, she said that the sale became official late Friday afternoon. She added that the purchase agreement pre-dated her arrival as CEO. She assumed that role on June 8.

The landmark Wilton Road site abuts the Y’s new Mahackeno campus.

The 3.2 acre parcel purchased by the Y includes the restaurant building and a separate house. It was owned by members of the Nistico family, who operated the Red Barn Restaurant from 1983 until July 2015.

Lining up for a sale of Red Barn items and artifacts, last June.

Lining up for a sale of Red Barn items and artifacts, last June.

“This is a unique opportunity for our YMCA — a long-term investment that allows us to preserve neighborhood values and, ultimately, utilize the property for the benefit of our members and the community we have served since 1923,” said Y CEO Pat Riemersma.

The Y’s announcement added:

The volunteer leaders who govern the Family YMCA, a charitable nonprofit organization, are in the process of developing a plan that will provide guidance as to the future use of the property. The Y has established a Limited Liability Company, known as 290 Wilton Road LLC, as part of the transaction.

Unsubstantiated rumors over the past many months have offered many potential reasons for the Y’s purchase of the property, including additional parking, use for its preschool, and to tie its septic system in with the Red Barn sewer line.

YMCA logo

16 responses to “UPDATE: Y Purchases Red Barn

  1. Maybe now we will get an explanation from the Y regarding the need for this deal to be secret. I have never heard before of a community non-profit committing to a major real estate purchase under a cloak of secrecy. Were the major donor/board members let in on the details? If so, is it proper to let major supporters have a say in the deal, while the $100, $500, $1000 givers did not?

  2. The Red Barn is not on sewer. It has it’s own septic system. The only sewer line on Wilton Road belongs to the Grassy Plains development (the one that has violated P&Z and Conservation regs) and they denied the Red Barn access to their sewer line because the Red Barn owners didn’t want to pay for using it. But there is NOT a municipal sewer line that runs up Wilton Road.

    That said, with their $40M gift from Ruth Bedford, the Y can now afford to do just about anything they want.

    • kelley spearen

      Two years ago the town ran sewer lines down wilton road .. It stops at the Red Barn , but they never hooked up . Then the gas company installed lines on wilton road , last year . The Red Barn has a hookup on the side of their building , but they never swapped over .. Having city sewer , and natural gas , is a big Plus for the Y . That alone is worth $$$$

  3. Dan, are you saying the Y specifically denied they were negotiating on the purchase, or was it that theyrefused comment? If they actually denied, then we’re talking about a non-profit making false statements to the public.

  4. Almost all commercial real estate deals I’ve ever seen are kept quiet until the papers are signed.

    • Sounds like those papers were signed some time ago; the deal just closed. All I’m saying is, the Y should explain the reason for all this secrecy. I suspect it has more to do with wanting to avoid further negative comments from the folks who opposed the Mahackeno facility, rather than any substantive need. I personally had/have nothing against the Mahackeno Y, but find secrecy/false denials by a community non-profit to be a little creepy.

  5. “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot”

  6. Actually just looked up 290 Wilton Road LLC on the State of CT CONCORD site. Turns out it was registered August 7 2015, by Pitney Day paralegal in “C/O Young Men’s Christian Association of Westport/Weston, Connecticut, Inc.” Pretty sure this ties-in with the deal going to contract.

    So it really wasn’t a secret at all from anyone who really wanted to know; most real estate LLCs are named by spelling out the address, so that’s the first place to look. It was simply an attempt — a successful one — to keep something out of the press by a little old stonewalling.

    I’m sure in the old days a local newspaper would have found this out, but the reality of local news today is there, there is usually one horrifically overworked/underpaid reporter/editor covering multiple towns, aided by a few part-timers and student interns. There’s little time for any reporting, and that’s not a good thing for the public’s right to know.

  7. In any event, I suspect there will be much friction if the Y decides to tear down the structure. I’m sure local preservationists will find it to be as “iconic” as the Bridge Street Bridge.

  8. Ilene Mirkine

    The local preservationists haven’t made much headway since the Westport Family Y decided to move to Mahackeno…..