Many Westporters wondered why Garden Homes Management — a Stamford firm without any prior connection here — proposed building a 6-story, 48-unit apartment complex on 1.16 acres of land.
Land, in fact, that could not be a less appropriate spot: wedged between a tidal marsh and the Wilton Road/Kings Highway North light — one of the most heavily trafficked, backed-up intersections in town.
Turns out that’s not the only place they’re looking.
Or all they want.
In a letter to First Selectman Jim Marpe dated January 25 — but not received at Town Hall until February 1 — Garden Homes president Richard K. Freedman offers to “relocate” the project away from 122 Wilton Road.
Freedman says there is “unequivocally” no other site in Westport economically viable for affordable housing.
However, he writes, “the answer changes if the town provides a subsidy.”
Freedman would like Westport to buy the property — then pay his company $1.5 to $2 million to cover Garden Homes’ land, engineering and legal costs. And its profit.
Then, he continues, the town can buy the property. And also pay for “all expenses to re-design the project for the same 48 units on a new site.”
“In the spirit of working constructively,” Freedman offers 4 suggestions:
- “793 Post Road E., 2.4 acres — listed for $3,100,000, previously under contract, now available.” This is the 2-story residential-looking commercial building next to Westport Wash & Wax, at the foot of Long Lots Road. Most recently, it housed a stationery store.
- “1480 Post Road E., 1.63 acres — listed for $4,295,000, confirmed to be available.” This is the Rogers Septic Tank property, next to the Exxon gas station and across from the old Blockbuster.
- “447 Riverside Ave., 1.0 acres — listed for $1,900,000, confirmed to be available, an ideal location for transit-oriented development.” This is the site of a 4-bedroom, 1,685-square foot house. The riverfront property includes a dock.
- “The former Jaeger property, 4+ acres, town-owned.” Freedman says there was an 8-30g (affordable housing) proposal for 67 units here in 2001; the town bought it for $4.2 million. It was used to expand the adjacent Long Lots School parking lot. The Community Garden also shares the site.
“My offer is open-ended,” Freedman’s letter concludes. “You may reply at your leisure, or not at all. I also welcome suggestions for other sites.
“In the meantime, my efforts to build affordable housing at 122 Wilton Road will continue as planned.”