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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Westport Main Street Property Sells for $8.2 Million

(UPDATE-adding comments from W&M Properties)
In a sign of the continued attractiveness of Westport’s Main Street to real estate investors, a one-story building housing Westport Pizzeria and two upscale retail stores has sold for $8.2 million or $1,955 a square foot, an apparent record for the street.WestportNow.com Image
The $8.2 million sale of this building on Main Street is equal to about $1,955 per square foot, an apparent record. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

The sale of 103,105, and 107 Main St. was recorded Tuesday in the Town Clerk’s office. The building houses the pizza restaurant and retailers Sigrid Olsen and Francois Du Pont Jewelers.

Town records show it includes 4,194 square feet of retail space.

The buyer was a partnership led by Stamford and New York-based W&M Properties which three years ago paid $18.1 million for neighboring 66-99 Main St., or about $1,046 a square foot. (See WestportNow April 19, 2003)

The seller was the estate of Dorothy S. Kish, who died in Fairfield in 2004 at the age of 99.

Papers filed with the Town Clerk’s office said the beneficiaries of the sale included Fairfield-based Dorothy S. Kish Trust; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Fairfield; the Masonic Charity Foundation, Inc., of Wallingford, Conn., and the Salvation Army of West Nyack, N.Y.

Fairfield attorney Roy H. Ervin, executor of the Kish estate, said Kish owned the property since 1954 with her late husband as an investment. He said the property had been in the family since the 1930s.

A “music lover,” Kish once was voted music person of the year in Fairfield where she taught piano and played organ at the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, the attorney said.

She also played organ at one time for a church in Westport, but he could not recall which one.

“There was a lot of interest in the property,” Ervin said, adding that the estate held out for the highest bidder.

A source familiar with the sale said one of those interested in the property was Mel Mioli, who owns Westport Pizzeria. The restaurant has several years to go on its lease with an option to renew, the source said.

Those familiar with Westport real estate transactions could not recall another Westport Main Street retail sale with a higher per square foot price.

David Waldman, a Westport real estate developer with holdings in the downtown area, said it made sense for W&M Properties to buy the building. They own the neighboring property and rents will continue to rise, he said.

“This shows we are a strong, affluent town,” Waldman said. “If the tenants don’t do well, people wouldn’t pay the high prices for the properties.”

Thomas P. Durels, executive vice president of W&M Properties, said Westport’s Main Street is a prime retail location. He said he knows from first-hand experience—he grew up in Westport and is familiar with the town and the downtown area.

The building is fully leased with rents below market rate, Durels said. He said each of the three tenants has a long-term lease with options to renew.

W&M doesn’t have any immediate plans for the property, he said. It was a strategic purchase because they own the adjacent property, and it will benefit them in the long term.

Main Street is compact with limited retail space, which is different than other prime high-end retail areas such as Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, Durels said. Greenwich Avenue’s retail area is much longer over several more blocks.

“We like Main Street because it’s so dense,” he said.

Durels said W&M will always keep an eye open for future purchase opportunities in downtown Westport.

Wholly owned by the Malkin family of Greenwich, W&M Properties was founded by Lawrence A. Wien and Peter L. Malkin in 1965.

Its holdings include Stamford’s Metro Center and First Stamford Place; Merritt View in Norwalk, and commercial, retail, and residential properties in New York City and elsewhere.

Partnerships led by Malkin, the chairman of New York-based Wien & Malkin, also own New York’s Empire State Building.

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Posted 11/02/06 at 11:11 PM



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There goes the neighborhood. Two long time businesses, du Pont Jewlers and Westport Pizzaria will be gone soon. How sad.

Posted by Matt Murray on November 03, 2006 at 03:43 AM | #
 

What a shame.  Goodbye Mel and Joe, Hello Sbarro…..The Mallification (malification) of Main Street will then be just about complete. 

John McCarthy

Posted by John McCarthy on November 03, 2006 at 12:24 PM | #
 

Common knowledge had it that the only reason Westport Pizzeria (the last[?] of Main Street’s mom and pop stores) remained was that the Mioli brothers owned the building.  Obviously, that was dead wrong. It sure is a shame.

Posted by Edward Bloch on November 03, 2006 at 01:04 PM | #
 

Rumor has it that TRUMP will be constructing a 50 story tower on the site, allowing the present business to stay with the balance of the project condos with 15% being “affordable”  allowing the project to move ahead according to state statues.

Posted by chip stephens on November 03, 2006 at 05:29 PM | #
 

I spoke with one of the business owners today.

FWIW, several of the stores have multi-year leases remaining. Whether they will be bought out remains to be seen.

Posted by Matt Murray on November 04, 2006 at 01:19 AM | #
 

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