In June of 2017, alert “06880” reader/Westport Museum of History and Culture house historian Bob Weingarten drove the entire Westport stretch of the Post Road. He counted the number of commercial buildings with either a “For Rent” or “For Sale” sign.
There were 50.
He shared the information on “06880.” It generated 57 comments.
Two years later he did it again. This time there were 65 commercial properties looking for tenants — 15 more. Many — including 2 former banks, a gas station and several large retail storefronts — were still vacant from 2 years earlier.
Once again, Bob’s story touched a nerve. Fifty readers commented.
The 3rd time — a couple of weeks ago — showed another increase. Now, 72 commercial buildings are available for rent or purchase.
Bob says that one bank building was added to the already empty two. Large retail storefronts still not occupied include the old Pier 1, and XL Clothing building.
The Mobil gas station near Barnes & Noble, and the large garden center near Stop & Shop are still vacant.
Additionally, 2 new commercial buildings near the new Ignazio’s Pizza (just west of Sherwood Diner), with townhouses in the rear, are unoccupied.
Bob is “alarmed” by the number of empty stores adjacent to Fresh Market.
A renovated large office building on Post Road West will start renting in January, for use as co-working and shared offices.
“I don’t understand how we can be told the economy is getting better and better, with the increasing number of available, empty commercial units,” Bob says.
And, he adds, his figures do not include the apartments that may be available across from Greens Farms Elementary School, or the new townhouses near the diner.
“Several empty available commercial spaces are now occupied — but they are relocations from other spaces on the Post Road, filling one spot but leaving another unoccupied,” he notes. These include Sam Slots Coins, Millie Rae’s and Earth Animal.
“What is going on in the Westport commercial economy?” he asks.