Bross Chingas Bross Real Estate, Riverside Realty, #1 Team in Westport 2013-2015 Per CMLS; Over One BILLION Dollars in Career Sales
Westport Country Playhouse presents What the Butler Saw, August 23-September 10, 2016
Slice of Saugatuck Festival, Westport, CT September 10, 2-5pm
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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Westport Firm at British Air Show

A Westport company is among 11 firms that will exhibiting in the Connecticut pavilion of the biennial Farnborough (England) International Airshow July 11-17.

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First Aviation Services, with corporate headquarters at 15 Riverside Ave., is part of the pavilion sponsored by the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, an announcement said.

First Aviation, headed by Aaron P. Hollander of Weston, chairman and CEO, is an international leader in logistics, engineering services, and distribution serving the aerospace industry.

The exhibit helps the Connecticut companies “get face-to-face access to customers and potential customers they might not be able to afford on their own,” said a DECD spokesman.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Old Saugatuck’s Last Neighborhood Fights for Future

By James Lomuscio

What’s at stake, to hear Carolanne Curry tell it, is the future of the last surviving neighborhood of old Saugatuck, the one not lost to 1-95 cutting a swath through this section of Westport in the 1950s.

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A developer hopes to built a 155-unit housing complex on Saugatuck’s Hiawatha Lane Extension. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) File photo/Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

She describes the neighborhood of Hiawatha Lane Extension, where she lives, and the seven tucked away roads as “the most closely knit neighborhood in the Town of Westport.” They include Ferry Lane West, Indian Hill Road, Davenport Avenue, West End Avenue, Hiawatha Lane and Gillette Circle Drive.

“Everyone knows everyone like they have here for generations,” she says of the single-family home community once considered Westport’s unofficial Italian neighborhood. “We have picnics together. We look out for each other.”

And Thursday night, about two dozen members of Save Our Saugatuck (SOS), a neighborhood group, are expected look out for each other in force at a Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) meeting.

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Sunday, July 03, 2016

Comings & Goings: New York Sports Clubs Closing

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New York Sports Clubs, 427 Post Road East in the Compo Shopping Center, will close July 31 after 14 years at the location, according to employee Michael Pettway. He said all members are being offered a refund or a transfer of membership to another New York Sports Club with the nearest in Stamford and Greenwich. Pettway, who said the decision to close was a corporate one, has been employed by the club for about one year and was offered a position at the Stamford location. He said there are about 10-11 employees in Westport, which opened in January 2002.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Saturday, July 02, 2016

Comings & Goings: West Comes East

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West, a fashion retailer founded this year by Westporter Laura Maged, opens next month at 117 Post Road East, occupied until June by Alex and Ani jewelry store. According to the store’s website, the concept “has been brewing for decades.” It describes the business as “a styled, edited + curated selection of the very best fashion, lifestyle, jewelry, accessories + art that la, the West Coast and (the even further west) Australia, have to offer. Mixing a vibe that is hip + cool and real + easy expect fashion you will love, art gallery openings, special trunk shows, cappuccini, specialty cocktails + occasionally, a dj.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Friday, July 01, 2016

Some ‘Bright Spots’ Seen in CT Economy

By Keith M.Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

While confirming that state government’s finances have slipped yet again, Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo also said today that a few “bright spots” show Connecticut’s economy might not be done growing.

And while the state entered a new fiscal year today, Lembo certified a $315.8 million deficit in the the outgoing budget — a shortfall that worsened largely because of further slippage in state income and sales tax receipts.

The deficit for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which is $56.7 million worse than projected one month ago, potentially could leave Connecticut with only about $90 million in its emergency reserve – a level equal to about one-half of 1 percent of annual operating costs.

Lembo, who recommends a reserve of 15 percent, will not formally close the books on 2015-16 until the end of September.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New State Budget Threatened Before it Starts

By Keith M.Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

With Connecticut’s new fiscal year set to begin Friday, serious issues — involving both spending and revenue — have arisen in recent weeks that challenge state government’s new spending plan before it’s even begun.

And a major Wall Street credit rating agency questioned Monday whether Connecticut’s fiscal house is in order, If not, the state could face its third consecutive year of deficits.

“With weak tax collections likely to carry over into fiscal 2017, the state has limited flexibility to maintain a balanced budget,” Moody’s Investors Service wrote in its latest Credit Outlook newsletter.

“Budget reductions are especially challenging to achieve in Connecticut, where fixed costs — the sum of pension contributions, retiree health contributions and debt service payments — claimed more than 25 percent of the state’s own-source governmental revenue in fiscal 2014.”

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Sconset Square Special Delivery

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Westport’s Sconset Square was overflowing today with artifacts, antiques, and European goods as another 40-foot container was unloaded for the Bungalow store. The store gets a container a few times a year and empties the store’s contents to make room. The goods are selected by Bungalow owner Wende Cohen who makes frequent buying trips to Europe. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Official Ribbon Cuttings on Jesup Road

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There were two ribbon cuttings on Westport’s Jesup Road tonight, one at Green & Tonic (top), the health food cafe at 17 Jesup Road, which opened last week (see WestportNow June 15, 2016), and Lucy’s, a high-end women’s boutique at 23 Jesup Road, which opened in April (see WestportNow April 26, 2016). Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe was among those making the cuts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photos

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Post 154 Auction: Everything Goes

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Everything was up for sale today at a crowded auction at the shuttered Post 154 Restaurant at 154 Post Road East. As reported by WestportNow earlier this month (see WestportNow June 8, 2016), a real estate source said the former Westport main post office, occupied until January by the restaurant, will be the new Westport home of furniture retailer Design Within Reach. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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Including the Kitchen Sinks

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Items up for sale today at the Post 154 Restaurant auction included kitchen sinks as well as other kitchen equipment, furniture and fixings. Furniture retailer Design Within Reach is expected to open here in the next six months. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/21/16 04:35 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Monday, June 20, 2016

Outgoing CT Budget Deficit Swells

By Keith M.Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

Eroding state income tax receipts identified today by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration not only widened the deficit in the outgoing fiscal year, but threatened to punch a hole in the new state budget 12 days before it begins.

Malloy’s budget office announced the red ink in the 2015-16 finances worsened over the past month by $56.7 million — a problem driven largely by a $75 million drop in projected income tax receipts.

And since prior year’s income tax receipts are a crucial factor used to project likely revenues in the following year, the new forecast raises questions about the stability of the $19.76 billion budget Malloy and legislators approved recently for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

“We’re facing a sustained period of slower-than-normal growth as we adjust to this new economic reality,” Office of Policy and Management Secretary Benjamin Barnes, the governor’s budget chief, wrote in a statement. “… We are committed to making difficult choices to reduce spending throughout the end of this fiscal year and into the next.”

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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Comings & Goings: Westport Bike Rentals

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Westport Bike Rentals, an online bike rental business, has opened in Westport.  Westport resident and owner Tracy Yost, said, “We provide beach cruisers, helmets, locks, and a choice of pre-planned routes so people can have an easy breezy day in Westport.”  A former resident of Santa Cruz, Calif., she added: “We want to bring the West Coast vibe to the East Coast.”  Rental prics are $39/six hours, $49/all day and $20/two evening hours. Call (203)917-9533 or visit www.westportbikerentals.com. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/18/16 02:44 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Opening Party

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Green & Tonic, a health food cafe, celebrated its Westport opening tonight at 17 Jesup Road at the corner of Taylor Place and Jesup Road. The new business will hold another opening party on Thursday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Comings & Goings: Green & Tonic Opens

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Green & Tonic, a health food cafe, opened today at 17 Jesup Road at the corner of Taylor Place and Jesup Road. (See WestportNow June 11, 2016)  Owners Jeff and Cai Pandolfino, Cos Cob residents, announced that two grand opening receptions will be held Thursday and Thursday, June 23 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.  with food samplings, beverages and champagne. Pandolfino said he and his wife plan to expand the concept regionally and nationally.  Currently Green & Tonic cafes are located in Darien, New Canaan, Cos Cob, and Greenwich in addition to Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/15/16 05:17 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chamber’s First Citizen Awards Honor Joseloff, McDowell

By James Lomuscio

The bottom line and the public good was the prevailing theme at tonight’s Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) First Citizen Awards gala that drew 100 to the Westport Inn.

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Ton Appleby, veteran news director of News-12 Connecticut, lamented the rise of social media as the primary source of news for Americans at tonight’s dinner. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Helen Klisser During for WestportNow.com

Honorees were Earthplace Executive Director Tony McDowell and WestportNow editor and publisher Gordon Joseloff, plus four young entrepreneurs from Staples High School and Weston High School.

WWCC Executive Director Matthew Mandell and WWCC Chairman Jonathan Baron hosted the event where keynote speaker Tom Appleby, veteran News-12 Connecticut news director, set the tone for the evening.

Appleby stressed his adherence to time-honored journalistic principles in an era of technological change and competition that has not only compromised journalistic ethics, but relinquished them to bias, advocacy, entertainment and the bottom line.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Comings & Goings: Alex and Ani Jewelry Closes

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After almost three years in business, Alex and Ani, a jewelry store which described itself as “eco-friendly,” has closed at 117 Post Road East next to Specs. Founded in 2004, the Rhode Island-based company has more than 30 retail locations nationwide. The space was previously occupied for 15 years by The Avenue Gallery, specializing in framing antique maps and nature prints. Alex and Ani opened in Westport in July 2013. (See WestportNow July 12, 2013) (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/13/16 07:08 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Comings & Goings: Green & Tonic Opens Wednesday

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Green & Tonic, a health food cafe, opens Wednesday at the corner of Taylor Place and Jesup Road, according to Patricia Blank, operations manager for the Westport site as well as Green & Tonic cafes in Darien, New Canaan, Cos Cob and Greenwich.  Owned by husband and wife Cai and Jeff Pandolfino the hours are Monday to Friday 7 a.m.to 7 p.m., Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The site was formerly occupied by Crumbs Bakery. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/11/16 02:35 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings and Goings: New Beauty Wellness Has Grand Opening

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New Beauty Wellness, a medical and day spa, has opened at 1137 Post Road East near the intersection of Morningside Drive North. It celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony.  According to site director Lindsay Cross-Lerou, the spa offers facials, massages, body treatments, injectables and laser treatments. A plastic surgeon, Mark Erlich, a resident of Easton, is a staff member. The business offers six treatment rooms in its 4,000-square foot facility. Pictured- (l-r) Ed Schaufler, principal; Jennifer Efstathiou, lead esthetician; Helen Garten, selectman; Paul Dowicz, principal; Matt Mandell, executive director, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce; Lindsay Cross-Lerou, site director, and Stephen Dowicz, principal. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

06/11/16 12:45 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Friday, June 10, 2016

Comings & Goings: Acqua Successor is Boca

By James Lomuscio

Opening up a new restaurant in Westport’s highly competitive atmosphere is undoubtedly daunting. It’s even more challenging if it’s your first time owning one.

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Revisson Bonfim will live the American Dream when he opens his Boca restaurant in space occupied for 20 years by Acqua Ristorante Mediterraneo. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

But for Revisson Bonfim, a 42-year-old investment banker who studies emerging markets, the planned opening of his Boca restaurant in August at the site of soon-to-close Acqua Ristorante Mediterraneo at 43 Main St. facing Parker Harding Plaza is the American Dream coming full circle. The restaurant, whose name is Spanish for mouth, will offer dishes from Spain, Italy and France.

“I’m originally from Brazil, and I moved to the United States when I was 16,” said the East Norwalk resident. “My very first job in the United States was working at a restaurant in Greenwich.”

The place was Manero’s, the same company that for decades had an iconic Saugatuck restaurant at the site that is now Rizzuto’s.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Malloy’s Approval Drops to All-Time Low of 24 Percent

By Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s approval rating hit a low of 24 percent today in a new Quinnipiac University poll, reflecting voter dismay over a chronic fiscal crisis that has come to define his six years as governor, most recently requiring service reductions and state employee layoffs.

“Voters feel Connecticut’s economy is going down the drain, and they are sending Gov. Dannel Malloy’s approval ratings right down the same drain. Even Democrats disapprove of the way he is doing his job,” said Douglas Schwartz, the poll’s director.

The poll is an across-the-board repudiation of Malloy, the first Democratic governor in decades, and a vote of no-confidence in the state’s economy, factors Republicans hope will enable them to shrink the Democrats’ majorities in the General Assembly or even capture control of a chamber.

Overall, 68 percent of voters disapprove of his performance, 24 percent approve and 8 percent have no opinion. He was upside down in every subset of voters, including Democrats, whose disapprove/approve split was 47 percent to 40 percent.

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Comings & Goings: Design Within Reach Goes Postal

The former Westport main post office, occupied until January by the Post 154 Restaurant, will be the new Westport home of furniture retailer Design Within Reach, according to a real estate source.

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Design Within Reach is the new tenant at 154 Post Road East. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

The company, which formerly leased space on Elm Street, is expected to occupy the 9,000-square foot space on two floors by the end of the year, the source said.

There was no immediate confirmation from the company.

An investment group with ties to Westport paid $2.35 million for the property in May 2011. (See WestportNow May 23, 2011) The restaurant opened in August 2013.

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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Library Talk Features Al DiGuido June 14

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Al DiGuido at his Saugatuck Sweets. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Many Westporters know of him from his charity Al’s Angels or his yummy shops Saugatuck Sweets.

But that’s just scratching the surface when it comes to learning about entrepreneur and philanthropist Al DiGuido, who on Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m. in the Westport Library’s McManus Room will offer marketing innovator insights into his many business successes, event planners said.

Sponsored by Bernstein Global Wealth Management and Patriot Bank, DiGuido’s free talk is titled “Win Small Battles: 10 Essential Truths on Building & Leading.”

It will focus on the top 10 of essential components for achieving success in a wide variety of endeavors, an annnounement said.

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Friday, June 03, 2016

P&Z Focuses on Site Plan to Defuse 8-30g

By James Lomuscio

Developers of a planned four-story, 94-unit rental property at 1177 Post Road East are willing to adjust their site plan, hopefully to the town’s satisfaction, without using the state’s affordable housing statute 8-30g to override zoning laws, their attorney said.

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An architect’s rendering of the proposed project at 1177 Post Road East. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Still, 1177 PRE Associates LLC is keeping 8-30g in its quiver via proposed text amendment 714. The amendment adds a new section “Residential-Rental Housing Opportunity/Workforce Zone District” as provided by the state’s affordable housing appeals procedure.

Under state law, 8-30g can be enforced if a town does not have 10 percent of its housing stock deemed affordable, which Westport does not. That opens the door to an aggressive developer riding roughshod over zoning regulations, doing what he or she pleases, something town officials say would jeopardize Westport’s identity and charm.

Christopher Smith, an attorney from the Shipman & Goodwin LLP firm representing 1177 PRE Associates, cautioned the Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) of that during a public hearing Thursday night.

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Comings & Goings: Now It’s Vine

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Vine, a charcuterie-style bar and restaurant, will open at 190 Main St. by end of June, according to owner Sammy Alanz. The space was previously occupied by Luxe Wine Bar, which closed in April. (See WestportNow April 12, 2016) Alanz initially announced the name of his new eatery would be Bankside Social, but has now changed it to Vine, a “wine room and charcuterie.”  He also said that the restaurant will feature fresh, organic, local offerings—see http://www.westportvine.com (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

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Friday, May 27, 2016

Bond Panel OK’s $22M for Hedge Fund Expansion

By Keith M.Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

The State Bond Commission today approved $22 million in financing to help Westport-based Bridgewater Associates, one of the nation’s largest hedge funds, to expand in Fairfield County.

But Democratic state Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo, a potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate in 2018, joined with a prominent Republican state representative to oppose assistance for Bridgewater.

Both Lembo and Rep. Chris Davis, R-Ellington, argued it was imprudent to dedicate scarce state resources to a firm that manages more than $130 billion in global investments.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who chairs the 10-member bond commission, countered that Connecticut competes daily with neighboring states for businesses and jobs.

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Terex Shares Plunge after China Deal Unravels

Westport-based Terex Corp.’s talks with a Chinese suitor broke down today after disagreement on terms.

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The breakdown cleared the way for Terex’s planned $1.3 billion disposal of a ports lifting-gear business to competitor Konecranes Oyj of Finland.

Shares of Terex closed down just over 14 percent at $20.89 on the news, after dropping 18 percent at the opening of trading.

Recent negotiations with Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co. hit an impasse over “crucial terms” despite joint efforts to find a solution, the Chinese company said in a statement early today, without giving further details.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

State Grant of $22M to Bridgewater Draws Criticism

By Keith M.Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

The State Bond Commission is expected to approve $22 million in financing Friday to help Westport-based hedge fund operator Bridgewater Associates expand operations in Westport, Wilton and Norwalk.

That sparked criticism today from House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, who called the grant to the world’s largest hedge fund “dubious,” given the state’s fiscal woes.

But Catherine Smith, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, said these planned expansions would be an economic win for Connecticut.

“With all that has transpired in the last two weeks, with the state’s budget a mess — and unfinished school construction projects hanging — to make the world’s largest hedge fund a priority, I find it dubious,” Klarides said. “Of course we want to keep highly skilled, well-paying jobs in Connecticut. But we all know that other vital projects will not be funded because we have to curtail our borrowing.”

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

CT Gets Credit Downgrades From Wall Street

By Keith M.Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

The new state budget’s ability to mitigate longstanding fiscal problems got poor marks today on Wall Street as two of the four major rating agencies downgraded Connecticut’s credit ranking — probably boosting borrowing costs in the future.

Fitch Ratings Inc. and Standard & Poor’s both lowered their bond ratings in response to the $19.76 billion budget Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature’s Democratic majority crafted for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The other two firms, Kroll and Moody’s Investors Service, didn’t change their ratings, but did maintain a “negative outlook.” This represents a warning that they intend to monitor state finances closely over the next year, and sometimes is a precursor to a formal downgrade.

“The message from the credit rating agencies couldn’t be any clearer: It is high time for a sustained commitment to fortify the state’s financial footing, in the midst of persistent economic uncertainty,” state Treasurer Denise L. Nappier wrote today in a statement announcing the downgrades.

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CT Jobless Rate Remained at 5.7% in April

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

Connecticut added 3,500 jobs last month, but unemployment remained at 5.7 percent, the state Department of Labor reported today.

The jobless rate is slightly better than the 5.8 percent mark achieved in April 2015. The state has added 20,100 jobs over the past 12 months and 9,800 positions since Jan. 1.

Still, Connecticut is about 23,500 jobs shy of recovering all positions lost in the last recession, which ended more than six years ago.

“Connecticut saw increases in both job counts and labor force participation in April,” said Andy Condon, Director of the Office of Research at the labor department. “As new workers entered or reentered the labor force, the number of unemployed also grew. This explains recent upward pressure on our unemployment rate.”

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05/19/16 05:20 PM Comments (0) • PermalinkEmail Favicon Facebook Favicon LinkedIn Favicon

Comings & Goings: Daly Method Opens

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Daly Method has officially opened at 272 Post Road East. The practice, headed by founder Renee Daly (r) ) offers chiropractic care including “Graston and active release technique, certified sports rehab, functional training, massage therapy, and wellness care.” Among those taking part in the ribbon cutting were First Selectman Jim Marpe and Matthew Mandell, president and executive director, Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

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