Bedford Square Begins Construction, Announces Anchor Tenant

Taking part in Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the redevelopment of Bedford Square in Downtown Westport are from left, Wade McDevitt of The McDevitt Group, John Everly of M&T Bank, Westport First Selectman James Marpe, Karen Johnson of Bedford Square Associates and Bedford Square Associates Partners Lance Sauerteig, Paul Brandes, David Waldman and Dan Zelson.

Developers of the Bedford Square project held a press conference Tuesday to announce that construction of the historic transformation of Downtown Westport has officially begun and is scheduled to conclude in early 2017. Bedford Square Associates also unveiled the 40,000 square-foot anchor tenant for the redeveloped area, leading national retailer Anthropologie.

Bedford Square will be a mixed use project for the downtown area between Church Lane, Main Street and Elm Street that will reconnect the area to the rest of downtown with new retail, offices, restaurants, residential units and much-desired below-grade parking. Bedford Square will have a distinctive architectural design that extends the historic aesthetic of two iconic structures (the Bedford Building and the firehouse, both of which are being repurposed as part of the project) to the retail and residential areas. The project, designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, will be in context with the scale and style of the surrounding neighborhoods, and will include concealed parking, wider tree-lined sidewalks, public walkways and generous courtyards.

Bedford Square is being built and developed by Bedford Square Associates, a partnership between two leading Westport development firms – Charter Realty and Development and David Adam Realty – and B. Lance Sauerteig, President of BLS Strategic Partners. They launched the construction today with a press conference at The Spotted Horse Tavern (located across from the construction site).

“This will be a historic transformation of Downtown Westport,” Paul Brandes, a principal with Charter Realty and Development, said today. “The downtown commercial district is already one of the most successful in the nation, and our project will enhance the community’s enjoyment of their local shopping and dining experience, as well as adding much-desired residential units in a way that fits seamlessly with the unique, historic nature of Bedford Square.”

The new lease agreement with Anthropologie to be Bedford Square’s anchor tenant will include a 40,000 square-foot store, one of the first expanded concept stores in the chain’s history. Anthropologie’s Westport location will include the chain’s traditional Anthropologie clothing store as well as a home store, a beauty store with a salon, a BHLDN bridal store and a café/restaurant in the base of the historic firehouse.

“We could not have picked a better tenant to anchor our project than Anthropologie,” Dan Zelson, a principal with Charter Realty and Development, said. “The creativity and respect for history that Anthropologie has fits perfectly into our desire to breathe new life into the historic structures.”

The Bedford Square project involves completely renovating and repurposing two historic structures – the 1924 Bedford Building, which was built for the YMCA 90 years ago, as well as the equally majestic adjoining Firehouse – and adapting them for reuse as the centerpiece of a 110,000 square-foot mixed use redevelopment. The Bedford Square team also extended thanks today to three other entities which played an integral part in the project’s development: Langan Engineering, the project’s site and civil engineer; Turner Construction, which is acting as the Developer’s Construction Manager; and M&T Bank, Bedford Square’s construction lender.

“As a Westport resident for the past 44 years I am thrilled to announce the start of construction today,” David Waldman, President of David Adam Realty, said at the press conference. “Bedford Square is a vision for Westport’s future, made possible through collaboration and cooperation with our team, the town of Westport and our downtown neighbors. By preserving and re-purposing the historically significant structures into a thoughtful and architecturally beautiful mixed-use addition, we are not only opening up the gateway and connecting it to Westport’s future, but anchoring it with a retailer who will draw shoppers downtown, which in the long run will benefit everyone.”

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