This morning’s “06880,” on the travails of Villa Del Sol during the construction phase of Bedford Square, noted that “a proposed land swap — exchanging the restaurant and adjacent parking lot for a parcel across the street — has been scuttled.”
However, despite reports in local media, that land swap is still very much alive.
Second Selectman Avi Kaner said this afternoon that the town has continued negotiations with David Waldman, developer of Bedford Square. That retail/residential project — on the site of the former YMCA — stretches along Church Street, with an entrance on Elm Street.
Kaner says the town and Waldman are close to an agreement on a deal. Details are unavailable. However, the original plan would have traded 36 Elm Street — the site of Villa del Sol — for a section of the town-owned Baldwin parking lot across the street. Waldman hoped to build an 8,477-square foot building behind Lux Bond & Green, with small retail stores and 4 apartments.
Under the original plan the town would demolish the Villa del Sol building, creating additional parking, walkways and greenery.
Kaner presented a status report at a Board of Finance executive session last week, and solicited negotiating advice.
Based on that discussion, he says, it is likely that the Elm Street/Baldwin lot land exchange will be discussed and voted on in an open public session, at the finance board’s April meeting.
Any decision would be subject to approval by other town bodies. The Planning & Zoning Commission has already given the swap a positive 8-24 review.
Fascinating. Thanks for the reporting, Dan.
Oh no! Another 8500 sf building with apartments! What happens to Brooks building businesses that have windows overlooking Baldwin lot? Will their space and light be obliterated?
TO DAVID WALDMAN: The proposed mixed use building looks like a big box. How about creating a building with more “New England” appeal? See Tavern on Main for instance . and Westport homes designated as “Historical”.. Try to regain some of the essence of what Church Lane once had. I love what you did with the Kemper-Gunn house . . .Caryl
Who owns the Villa del Sol building? The previous post stated that Waldman does not own that building.
Does Waldman get a virtually free building out of this deal?
What happens to Villa del Sol? Do they get to continue their lease in the new building? Is the new building completed before turning Villa del Sol into a parking lot? Or does the Osorio family just have to be without a restaurant for a few years?
Will this not result in a net reduction of parking spaces, due to the new building’s placement in an existing parking lot on the N. side of Elm St? The new building is 80% larger than the old one, so it presumably creates a larger demand for parking, in addition to covering more parking spaces than the old one.
According to previous plans, there was a net gain of 2 parking spaces.
But if it has 4 apartments wouldn’t that require at least 1 — and possibly 2 — dedicated parking spaces per apartment?
Seriously, the difficulty of parking and the lack of any basic ordinary shops has made downtown Westport a “no go zone” for me, and I imagine for lots of other folks. Look at it this way: no grocery store, no deli, no bookstore or newsstand, no drug store, no liquor store. I can’t imagine the appeal of renting an apartment there, but then again, just like the rest of today’s downtown, they’re not designed for people like me.
What happens to Villa Del Sol? It’s the sisters’ passion and livelihood – keeping tradition alive – all for a couple of parking spots?