Downtown, The Plywood Comes Off

The timing may not be the greatest. But today there’s good news downtown.

After months of work, Lululemon has moved into the Main Street property previously occupied by Nike. With 5,500 square feet, the popular athletic wear store has almost doubled their previous space.

The opening comes after months of work that brought a desolate look — plywood-covered windows in front, and construction blocking Parker Harding Plaza in back — to the area.

The work was necessary to flood-proof the vulnerable property. Basements have been redesigned, and walls bathtubbed to prevent water from spreading.

Lululemon Athletica is open for business.

The landlord — Empire State Realty Trust — owns other Main Street property too, all the way down to the former Westport Pizzeria.

Skip Lane — Empire State’s broker — says that other stores will open soon, once their own flood-proofing and renovations are complete.

7 for All Mankind — a men’s and women’s jeans store — will share space in the old Chico’s with Splendid, which offers casual clothes for women and children.

On the north side of Lululemon, Johnny Was — the boho-chic clothier — opens soon.

A deal is close for the old Lululemon space. And Theory — another women’s clothing store — is being renovated too.

Sundance — founded by Robert Redford in 1969 as a general store, and now a retailer of men’s and women’s apparel, jewelry, footwear, accessories and home furnishings — will take over the former Ann Taylor space.

On the other side of Main Street, Lane says, a “cool high-end furniture line” will move into Banana Republic.

With most Americans worried about COVID-19 — and heeding advice to avoid crowds, if not self-isolate — this might not seem the best time to announce new store openings in Westport.

But the plywood has been up too long on Main Street. It’s coming down now. Soon enough, Empire State Realty Trust — and everyone else invested in downtown —  hopes, the shoppers will return.

Ready for customers at Lululemon.

10 responses to “Downtown, The Plywood Comes Off

  1. Jennifer Cordella

    While this is good news and we all need more of this, Not sure the photo of the 3 employees NOT practicing social distancing was a good choice.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Carol Lupo-Simek

    And this morning Lululemon announced all stores will be closed through March 27th. The good news is that all employees will be paid.

  3. Do we know the owners of Empire Realty Trust? And why, like so many commercial landlords in Westport and neighboring towns, they feel the need to raise rents so high that even successful retail and restaurant tenants are forced to flee?!? Are their operating costs and debt servicing going up?

  4. I will celebrate the news more with a cup of coffee when the new cafe opens below the Remarkable Bookstore on the river side. We don’t need more clothing stores, furniture stores, and banks. We need places for people to gather and enjoy life person to person.

    • The Lulu folks are terrific. Give them a shot!

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      I agree. Cafes and bakeries that have a welcoming space are more necessary and give people a reason to linger downtown.

      Lulu folks are likely great, but they can’t feed you!

  5. Dave Feliciano

    I mast say that I was overjoyed when the NIKE closed down. As an long time active person I believe in shopping locally, dining locally and enjoying community. I enter the Nike store walked around seeing what they had. I was looking for cross country running shoe, nylon shorts, a t- shirts. I may have well been the invisible man. The young staff were so self interested and engaged I talking with each other and when I approached them they vaguely pointed to a section of the store. I started to go out and in my loudest voice stated that they would be out of business in six months. Took a little longer I went to AFS Sports and Outdoor, bought two pairs of sneakers. One that was special ordered. Purchasing a couple water bottles and several T’shirts. The staff was knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. I will never buy another Nike product or walk into one of their stores. Local for me.

  6. Elizabeth Thibault

    Can anyone explain the “bathtub” waterproofing being used in these stores? Google only wants to show me someone tiling a new shower or bath enclosure.
    How does this differ from the waterproofing Waldman put in place for the old YMCA building? (Anyone remember the 8 feet of water in their basement and the floating furniture with Sandy?)

  7. This is a bright light email. Thx for all you do!

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  8. Susan Iseman

    Great news- now all we need is to be done with this crisis. Stay healthy & safe people!