Westport is awash in restaurants and retail.
We’re blessed with outdoor amenities like Compo Beach and Longshore.
But when it comes to indoor fun — family activities, evenings with friends, date nights — not so much.
No movies or bowling, like Norwalk. No golf simulators, like Fairfield and Stamford.
Well, not today.
But — if Emily and Tim Zobl get the approvals and permits they need — hopefully next year.
Tim and Emily Zobl.
The Westporters — she’s a 2012 Staples High School graduate and former University of Michigan field hockey player, now co-founder and president of a firm that invests in hospitality, food services, technology and multi-media publishing; he has an events planning background, and is a local realtor — go before the Planning & Zoning Commission July 10.
They’ll present a concept for The Clubhouse: a “golf simulator lounge” activity space with 6 state-of-the-art bays that have 13 interactive experiences in golf, football, soccer, hockey, dodgeball and more; private rooms for birthday parties, corporate events, karaoke and big-screen game viewings, plus a bar with craft cocktails and a pub-bites menu.
Phase 2 involves 10 homes. Two will be affordable, according to state formulas.
The site is 1608-1622 Post Road East. Redi-Cut Carpet & Rugs, with a long-term lease, will remain. The other tenants — including Pane e Bene restaurant — would move or close.
1620 Post Road East was built in 1946.
It’s a true Westport project. Emily was part of the team that saved the historic Old Mill Grocery & Deli last year, and serves on the Earthplace board. Both are experienced in the hospitality industry, and love golf.
Their goals are to offer fun, new activities that Westport lacks; improve a 1940s-era building, and add landscaping and screening; provide a bit of affordable housing — and save the property from a much larger 8-30g project, which has been proposed in the past.
The Zobls are now in the due diligence phase. The P&Z hearing next week includes a text and map amendment, and review of a general development plan.
If approved, the couple will continue with engineering and architecture plans, an application to the Architectural Review Board and more.
The Clubhouse will include not just golf simulators …
The Clubhouse would be part of a renaissance of the Post Road between Maple Avenue and Stop & Shop. Delamar has torn down the Westport Inn. It will be replaced by a boutique hotel.
Rick Redniss of the Redniss & Mead land use and engineering firm is working on both Delamar Westport, and The Clubhouse.
Just east of the Zobls’ project — at the former AJ’s Farm Stand — work proceeds on Tacombi, the first Connecticut location for the popular New York-based taqueria.
… but adaptations for football, baseball, soccer, hockey dodgeball and other sports. Participants will feel like they’re part of the action.
The acre of land behind The Clubhouse — Phase 2 of the Zobls’ project — has been zoned residential for decades.
The Lansdowne condominiums were built next door 4 decades ago, on the site of a former miniature golf course and driving range. The range became an unofficial dump. Though several proposals were made for the property behind the carpet store — including an intensive 8-30g project — nothing was ever built.
The Zobls have held several meetings with neighbors on George Street — behind the land — and nearby High Gate Road, along with the adjacent Lansdowne condos.
“We’re very sensitive to them,” Emily says. “We want to be an asset. We’re working with them to make this a success for everyone.
“We’re not developers from New York. This is our town. Tim will be on site, running the daily operation.
“He’ll oversee the simulators, the lounge, private events, karaoke — everything. This is a true local business.”
The architect is local too: Rick Hoag.
Though the couple is excited about the possibilities — for family fun, night life, and of course the housing component — they are not rushing things.
“We want to do this right,” Tim says.
It’s their Clubhouse. They look forward to welcoming the entire town to it.
PS: The Zobls first looked at 950 Post Road East — the former Men’s Wearhouse — for The Clubhouse. But there were parking issues, and it was too close to neighbors.
On July 10 — the same night the P&Z hears the text and map amendment requests from the Zobls — they’ll discuss special permit and site plan application to permit a veterinary hospital/animal clinic at 950 Post Road East.
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