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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Comings & Goings: Athleta Opens on Main Street Image
Just in time for the holiday season, Athleta, a division of GAP Inc, has opened at 103-07 Main St. The new store was constructed in the spaces previously occupied by Westport Pizzeria, Kate Spade and Francois du Pont Jewelers, which have all relocated elsewhere. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Posted 04:00 PM
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Comings & Goings: Top Drawer to Close After 37 Years Image
Top Drawer, a women’s boutique at 1537 Post Road East, is closing. Owner Joan Rotman (above) and manager Mickey Kleefield and their staff have delivered personalized service to Westport customers for more than 37 years. A closing sale is in progress, and Rotman said she plans to be out before the end of the year. “It’s time,” she said, adding that she and her staff will miss their many customers with whom they have developed very close ties over the years. “Thank you for all your loyalty, caring and friendship,” she said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Posted 02:31 PM
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

CT Gains Jobs in October but Unemployment Rate Remains Fixed

By Keith M. Phaneuf

Connecticut’s jobless rate remained fixed at 6.4 percent in October, despite the addition of about 3,600 new jobs, the state Department of Labor reported today.

The agency’s latest report also downgraded job growth estimates it had released two weeks before Election Day. Back on Oct. 20, labor officials said Connecticut gained 11,500 jobs in September, it’s single-largest monthly gain since April 1994. But Thursday it revised the September gain downward by 1,000 jobs to 10,500.

“Connecticut’s job market continues to steadily add jobs this year at its best pace since the recovery began, and that growth seems to be drawing more people into the labor force,” said Andy Condon, director of the Labor Department’s Office of Research.

“These numbers are another sign of progress,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said today.  ” ... We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure Connecticut remains on a path towards an economic revival.  By working with the business community on expanding their operations or relocating to our state, we are putting Connecticut on the path to long-term prosperity.”

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Posted 01:27 PM
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Comings & Goings: Froyoworld Westport Closes Image
Froyoworld Westport has closed at 361 Post Road West in the shopping center once anchored for many years by the also closed John’s Best. Froyoworld opened in June 2012, one of a wave of frozen yogurt shops that opened about that time. (See WestportNow June 18, 2012)  Froyoworld’s closure follows the closing of Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt, 113 Post Road East, last June and the more recent closing of Peachwave Yogurt at 170 Post Road West. (See WestportNow June 10, 2014) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Posted 04:57 PM
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Friday, November 14, 2014

It’s official: CT’s Budget is $89M to $100M in the Red

By Keith M. Phaneuf

UPDATE The state budget received its first official deficit reports today when nonpartisan legislative analysts and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration projected shortfalls ranging from $89 million to just under $100 million.

And while the administration issued the larger of the two deficit forecasts—$99.5 million—budget director Benjamin Barnes, insisted it quickly would be closed, and reasserted Malloy’s insistence that tax hikes are not an option.

“This is consistent with what the administration has been saying,” Barnes said, “that no matter what the projections are, we will manage and administer the budget so that there will be no deficit. It is important to remember that this is a prediction of what would happen now and in the future should we do nothing—and doing nothing is not an option.”

More than half of the deficits projected both by the governor’s staff and by the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis stems from declining revenues, particularly involving receipts from Indian casinos and federal grants.

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Posted 04:38 PM
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Drew Friedman Sells Main St. Property for $9.2 Million

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE (adds sale recorded) Disillusioned by town zoning laws and with interests elsewhere, longtime Westport landlord-developer Drew Friedman after 31 years has sold his two-story building at 36-42 Main St., home to Bobby Q’s, formerly Onion Alley, for $9.2 million. Image
The two-story building at 36-42 Main St., built in the 1930, was acquired by Drew Friedman in 1983. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The sale, completed today, was to Forstone Capital, LLC, a Darien-based real estate investment firm that also owns 1365-1391 Post Road East, the site of Anthropologie and the building that houses Balducci’s, Friedman said.  One of Forstone’s principals, Brandon Hall, lives in Westport.

The $9.2 million sale was recorded Friday in the Town Clerk’s Office, said Town Clerk Patricia Strauss.

HK Group, a Westport-based commercial real estate group that brokered the transaction, announced the sale of the 9,982-square-foot, 1930-built property on .2-acres today but did not mention the buyer or the sales price.

More "Drew Friedman Sells Main St. Property for $9.2 Million"

Posted 09:22 PM
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Malloy to Order Emergency Cuts, Hiring Freeze

By Keith M. Phaneuf

To reverse an impending state budget deficit, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration has told agencies it will order emergency spending cuts and freeze all-but-critical hiring to offset an impending budget deficit.

The move prompted concerns today from both private- and public-sector unions that this would stymie Malloy’s big initiative to expand Department of Transportation professional staff and, in turn, to launch more highway, bridge and rail construction work.

In a memo sent late Wednesday to all agency heads, the governor’s budget director, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes also reinforced existing caps on overtime work.

Current budget trends, including both shrinking revenues and cost-overruns in various agencies “will ... result in a general fund deficit if management actions are not taken right away,” Barnes wrote.

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Posted 06:44 PM
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Comings & Goings: Positano’s to Playhouse Campus Image
Positano’s Restaurant, a mainstay at Westport’s Old Mill Beach for 13 years, will move in February to the Westport Country Playhouse campus in a building occupied until last February by the Dressing Room Restaurant, (See WestportNow Feb. 1, 2014), the Playhouse announced today. The Positano property changed hands in September for $2 million. Positano’s will close on Dec. 31 at its current location. It is unclear whether it will remain a restaurant or become a residential building.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 12:34 PM
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Saturday, November 08, 2014

Comings & Goings: Kawa Ni to Bridge Square Image
Kawa Ni, described by co-owner Massimo Tullio as a Japanese bistro, has opened at Westport’s Bridge Square in the Saugatuck area. Tullio, who with Bill Taibe owns the popular Westport eateries The Whelk, 575 Riverside Ave., and Le Barn, 256 Post Road East, said the Japanese bistro concept is designed after Japan’s traditional pub-style Izakaya with the exception that the portions at Kawa Ni are slightly larger.  “Some people view this as Japanese tapas,” he said. “We feature a range of Japanese cuisine favorites including Men (noodles), Onigiri (rice cakes) and Donburi (rice bowls). “For many it’s often a pre-dinner culinary treat so we avoid heavy soy sauce which is filling, instead we serve pickled cabbage that has salt levels well below soy sauce which is often bloating.”  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 03:08 PM
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Post Road West Office Building Sold for $13 Million Image
An office building at 276 Post Road West changed hands Friday for $13,066,666, according to the Westport Town Clerk’s Office. The fully–leased 32,873-square foot office property, built in 1987, is located on 2.93 acres of land and last changed hands in 2002 for $7.5 million, according to Town of Westport records. Westport-based HK Group was the only broker in the transaction. Buyer was an LLC owned by New York-based Gerard Alexander Family Holdings and seller was an LLC owned by Paragon Management Group, one of the tenants in the building. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Posted 11:15 AM
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Monday, November 03, 2014

Comings & Goings: Jeera Little Thai Kitchen to Post Road East Image
Jeera, Little Thai Kitchen, will open at 165 Post Road East, next to Finalmente Trattoria, within a month, according to owner Darapon Souri Vong (above). A Branford resident who said her friends call her by her nickname, Pook, she said she also operates a restaurant by the same name in New Haven, which she opened three years ago. “I learned my cooking skills and the restaurant business from my parents,” she said, adding she worked for 10 years at their Thai restaurant in Guilford.  Souri Vong said the 900-square foot restaurant will, in addition to have seating for 20 to 30, offer take-out and catering services. “Our specialties are curry and noodle dishes,” she said. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 09:37 PM
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Comings & Goings: Crumbs Bake Shop Reopens Image
Crumbs Bake Shop has reopened on Westport’s Taylor Place opposite the Westport Library after having suddenly closed in July when the firm declared bankruptcy (see WestportNow, July 8, 2014.)  An employee said that a grand reopening celebration is planned but the date has not yet been announced. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 04:46 PM
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Comings & Goings: Bonjo Coffee Bar to Railroad Place Image
Bonjo Coffee Bar opened today at Railroad Place across from the Westport Metro-North station in the space previously occupied by Cocoa Michele. The new eatery will serve coffee from freshly roasted beans plus pastries and bagels. Hours are Monday through Friday 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. For more information, go to (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Bob Eckman for

Posted 01:19 PM
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Comings & Goings: Wheels Open on Post Road East Image
Wheels Convenience Store, owned by Trumbull-based Consumers Petroleum, has opened at its CITGO-branded location at 786 Post Road East. (See WestportNow Sept. 8, 2014) An announcement said the business tries to support other area businesses and entrepreneurs and noted it would offer products from Westport-based snack food company Nothin’ But Foods. It said it invites the community for a sampling on Nov. 7. Westport is Wheels’ 20th outlet in the state with other nearby sites in Norwalk, Wilton, and Fairfield. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 11:46 AM
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Comings & Goings: Norma’s Barbershop to Myrtle Ave. Image
Norma’s Barbershop & Salon has opened at 8 Myrtle Ave. at the intersection of Post Road East in the space previously occupied by Gigi Skin Care. Owner Norma Hayo, a Norwalk resident, said she caters to both men and women and also offers custom wigs and toupees. The shop is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 11:21 AM
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