Thursday, November 13, 2014
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.
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.
Friedman said tonight the property had been on the market for only a few months, that HK had a number of prospective buyers, “and I chose from them.”
In addition to Bobby Q’s, tenants include Brownstone, Shoe Inn, Lili Design, and Born to Explore.
“They’re going to be good building owners, and they’ll be good landlords,” Bob LeRose, owner of Bobby Q’s, said of his new landlord.
“We’re in good shape, and they’re good, and we’re anticipating a good future, not only for us but for downtown Westport, as well,” he added.
For Friedman, the sale of 36-42 Main St. marks the end of a long history as one of Main Street’s major movers and shakers. He acquired the property in 1983, renovating the space into Onion Alley in 1985.
A onetime partner with developer David Waldman, Friedman previously sold the old Westport Library building on the corner of Post Road East, Main and Parker Harding Plaza, as well as 35-51 Main St., where the restaurant Acqua Ristorante Mediterraneo is one of seven tenants.
“I have other things I’m interested in now,” said Friedman from the Cobb’s Mill Inn, the Weston restaurant he bought in 2011.
He also said he had become disillusioned with town zoning laws and was upset by the loss of what he said were 75 parking spaces in the Baldwin lot to accommodate the relocation of the historic Kemper-Gunn House to save it from the wrecking ball. The house is scheduled to be moved on Tuesday.
“They’re getting rid of 75 spaces in an area that was built by 20 merchants who abutted it in 1955; they paid for it themselves,” said Friedman, who founded the Westport Downtown Merchants Association.
The town says in the end the move will eliminate about 22 to 25 spaces.
At an August Board of Selectmen meeting, Friedman called the loss of parking spaces in the Baldwin lot a taking that was unconstitutional..
In making today’s announcement, HK noted that Main Street continues to remain vibrant, as evidenced by the fact that 36-42’s retail neighbors include Banana Republic, Pottery Barn, Bluemercury and Starbucks, among others.
Posted 11/13/14 at 09:22 PM
I’m sorry, but the led here is not realistic. Later in the story it says that Drew sold because of the loss of 75 parking places due to Kemper Gunn. There were 22 spaces needed and approved unanimously by the BOS. Not 75, and even a jaundiced calculation could not come up with anything as high.
Let’s be real, it was a tidy amount for the sale and it has been known for months that this sale was happening. It’s not new or related to KG.
Let’s stop blaming the KG move and embrace the positive, the historic preservation and vision the town had to save this house and what it means moving forward.
Come out Tuesday and watch history move.
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