Friday, February 05, 2016
Westport Assessor Paul Friia today released the annual list of top 10 Westport taxpayers as they appear on the 2015 Grand List Assessment.
Top payer once again was Connecticut Light & Power Inc., now known as Eversource Energy.
Here is the list with the type of tax and the assessment:
1. Connecticut Light & Power Inc., personal property, $135,413,783
2. 60 Nyala Farms Road LLC, real estate, $89,277,600
3. Equity One Westport Village Center, real estate, $35,051,200
4. Bylas LLC, real estate, $24,424,500
5. Campana 125 LLC, real estate, $20,767,800
6. 285 & 355 Riverside LLC , real estate, $20,177,600
7. SL Greens Farms Rd LLC, real estate, $19,937,500
8. Heyman Ronnie F Trustee, real estate, $19,508,800
9. Bridgewater Associates Inc., personal property, $19,126,450
10. Lasry, Marc & Cathy, real estate, $17,470,300
In a sign of Westport’s improving economic health, Westport’s Grand List for 2015—reflecting the latest revaluation—jumped 7.8 percent or approximately $780 million to $10.876 billion, Assessor Paul Friia announced today.
This compared a 1.5 percent increase in 2014 over the previous year and 1.3 percent increase in 2013.
On Jan. 31, Friia signed the Oct. 1, 2015 Grand List as required by state statute. The list is the sum of the net assessed value of all taxable property: real estate, motor vehicles and personal property.
Home values increased approximately 7.5 percent, while commercial values showed a healthy 10 percent jump, making the combined increase in the real estate categories 8.3 percent.
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
By Keith M. Phaneuf, Arielle Levin Becker, and Jacqueline Rabe Thomaswww.ctmirror.org
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today proposed a $19.87 billion budget that cuts most state agencies and previously approved municipal aid, and potentially eliminates “thousands” of jobs, while avoiding tax hikes to close a nearly $570 million deficit.
Malloy’s plan departs dramatically from decades of past practice. Instead of spelling out how much money each department should spend on specific programs, the proposal — in many instances — largely assigns agencies a lump sum.
This approach would shift more control over line-item spending from the legislature to agency heads and the governor’s budget office.
Malloy’s proposal would reduce general fund spending 3 percent below the preliminary 2016-17 budget he and the legislature approved last June. It essentially keeps spending flat compared with the current fiscal year, increasing it by a rounding error – 1/12th of 1 percent – and would spend $720 million below the level nonpartisan analysts say is necessary to maintain current services.
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Friday, January 29, 2016
Green&Tonic, a health food eatery, will open in April at the corner of Jesup Road and Taylor Place, the former site of Crumbs, which closed in November 2015 (see WestportNow Nov. 10, 2015.) The Cos Cob-headquartered business, founded in 2011 by Jeff and Cal Pandolfino, opened in Darien (1098 Boston Post Road) and Cos Cob (7 Strickland Ave.) in 2012, Greenwich (85 Railroad Ave.) in 2013 and New Canaan (5 Burtis Ave.) in 2014. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Michaels, an arts and crafts retail chain, will open soon at 1850 Post Road East, in the Westport Plaza Shopping Center anchored by HomeGoods. The 19,300-square feet space was last occupied by Walgreens which closed in May 2015 (see WestportNow April 24, 2015). Other Michaels stores in Connecticut are in Wilton, Stamford, Milford, Brookfield, Waterbury, Meriden, New Britain, Berlin and Avon. Based in Irving, Texas, Michaels was founded in 1973 and has 1,262 stores in 49 states. It is the largest arts and crafts specialty retailer in North America. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, January 28, 2016
By James Lomuscio
Saying that traffic, safety and environmental impact should not be sacrificed for affordable housing, a number of residents at tonight’s Westport Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) meeting spoke against a developer’s plan.
It calls for a six-story, 48-unit multi-family housing project with 15 affordable units at the busy intersection of Wilton Road and Kings Highway North.
Fairfield attorney John Fallon, representing the developer of the project, Garden Homes Management, put forth the application for the development at 122 Wilton Road.
He said the project would meet the requirements of the controversial 8-30g affordable housing statute, under which the application was being made. The statute allows developers to override local zoning laws if the town does not have 10 percent of its housing stock classified as affordable, which Westport does not.
‘By James Lomuscio
In a straw vote tonight, Westport’s Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) voted 5 to 2 to deny a proposed Riverwalk text amendment.
The amendment would facilitate a local developer’s plans to build a two-story, 25,000-square-foot office building and a 47-foot tall residential building for between 15 to 17 condominiums at the former Save the Children site at 54 Wilton Road.
Following the commission’s work session straw vote, P&Z Director Laurence Bradley said he would prepare a negative resolution that the commission could vote on at its next meeting Thursday, Feb. 4.
The planned 47-foot building, 12 feet higher that what is currently allowed, seemed the Achilles heel of the text amendment that aims to create a new Riverwalk District (RD) in a current General Business District (GBD) along the west bank of the Saugatuck River.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
The Westport Board of Selectmen today approved a representation agreement with Pelham, N.Y.-based Bench Strength Partners, Inc. for contract negotiation services with wireless companies for the cell tower at the Westport Fire Headquarters, 515 Post Road East (above). Finance Director Gary Conrad said the town has been “leaving a lot of money on the table” under its current contract with a company that has handled leasing the tower and had a ceiling on negotiated rates. He said the town will assume full ownership of the tower in 14 months—something he said was unusual for a municipality—and then will have the ability to realize significantly improved fees. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Shares of Westport’s Terex Corp. jumped almost 37 percent today after the company said it had received an unsolicited takeover offer from a Chinese company.
The maker of cranes and heavy construction equipment said the offer of $30 per share came from China’s Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co.
Terex shares closed at $20.50, up $5.49, or 36.58 percent, after trading as high as $23.98 during the afternoon.
Some Wall Street analysts noted that the stock was trading well below the offer price, indicating doubt that the deal has much chance of happening in its present form.
Monday, January 25, 2016
Device ER, a cell phone and computer repair shop, has opened at 417 Post Road East in the Compo Shopping Center. According to manager Jason Rinaldi (above), it is the third location for the young, rapidly growing company founded by Stratford resident Dave Cordisco. Rinaldi said the first store opened one year ago at 607 Main St., Norwalk and six months ago at 550 Boston Post Road, Orange. A graduate of Platt Tech High School in Milford, Rinaldi, 20, said plans are in the works for adding more Device ER stores in the near future. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Friday, January 22, 2016
Westport’s Post 154, which closed Monday at 154 Post Road East because the restaurant’s owners are selling it, have gone to contract with a company that plans to open another restaurant there this year, it was announced today. Laura Leeds, principal of Weston-based Simon David Real Estate representing Post 154, said that the seller is under a confidentiality agreement with the buyer of the business in the former U.S. Post Office building. The restaurant space consists of approximately 9,000 square feet spread over two floors. “A new restaurant will be taking over the space; it will be this year,” Leeds said. “That’s the good news for Westport.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Cake Box, a bakery offering cakes, cookies, cupcakes and coffee as well as nut-free and gluten-free baked goods, will open Feb. 2 in the lower level of 10 Bay St., behind the former Post 154 Restaurant, according to Robert Byrnes, a Ridgefield resident, who co-owns the business with his wife, Jordan Gregory. The couple also own two bakeries in Ridgefield, Cake Box at 1 Big Shop Lane since April 2010, and Swoon, a nut-free, gluten-free bakery at 109 Danbury Road. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The Harvest Restaurant, 36 Railroad Place in the space formerly occupied by Mario’s Place, has opened. For now, it is dinner only beginning at 5 p.m., according to a person answering the phone at the restaurant with plans to open for lunch in several weeks. The owners also operate Cava in New Canaan, Harvest in Greenwich, New Haven, Scena in Darien, and 55 Degrees in Fairfield. Mario’s closed in April 2015. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Westporter Rajat Gupta has been released from a Massachusetts prison where he served 19 months for insider trading, according to federal officials.
Rajat Gupta: released on Jan. 5. File photo
But instead of returning to his Beachside Avenue home in Westport’s Greens Farms area, the former Goldman Sachs and Proctor & Gamble board member is at his Manhattan apartment, they said.
Gupta, 67, was freed Jan. 5 after receiving credit for good behavior against his 30-month sentence, according to Patrick McFarland, a manager for the Federal Bureau of Prisons program in the New York area.
He will remain a federal inmate until March 13, confined to his apartment and required to wear an ankle bracelet that monitors his movements, The New York Times reported.
Post 154, the restaurant in Westport’s former main post office at 154 Post Road East, has closed abruptly after almost two and a half years. A source said the staff was notified of the closing on Monday and that Alex Rosado, executive chef, left several months ago and is now at Poloma, Stamford. 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. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
A sign on the front door of Post 154 Restaurant, 154 Post Road East, notifies all of its closing. There was no immediate word from the owners on plans for the property, purchased in 2011 for $2.35 million from the U.S. Postal Service. The closing follows closely on the heels of the recent closing by Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant and the announced March 31 closing of Bobby Q’s, both longtime Westport dining spots, and last year, by The Red Barn and Mario’s Place (which changed hands). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Friday, January 15, 2016
Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant, 833 Post Road East, will close at end of business on Sunday after 24 years in the location, according to Bertucci District Manager Stephen Sherlock. “Our lease expired and we could not come to terms with the landlord,” he said. He said the 24 employees will be offered jobs in one of the nearest Bertucci locations – Orange, Shelton, and Darien. Longtime Westporters will remember The Clam Box occupied the location from 1940 (except for the World War II years) until 1985, followed by Tanglewood’s before Bertucci’s opened in 1992. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
The interior of Bertucci’s Italian Restautant, 833, Post Road East, today after it was announced the restaurant will close at end of business on Sunday. The location has been home to restaurants for at least 75 years, beginning with The Clam Box in 1940 and Tanglewood’s from 1985 to 1992 when Bertucci’s opened. The Clam Box suffered a least three fires during its existence—in 1951, 1958, and 1968. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Organachs, a natural and organic products and holistic facial services business, will open at 15 Post Road West by March 1, according to its owner, Siobhan McKinley of Ridgefield. McKinley, whose parents were born in Ireland, said Organachs—the Irish word for organics—has a “farm to skin” theme because of its natural skin care products and “my pursuit of living organically.” She added, “We source organic products, not normally available in Fairfield County, from around the world.” The 640-square foot space is located between Art’s Deli and Age of Reason, the latter reducing the size of its store. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Westport Florist, formerly Hansen Floral Arts, 240 Post Road East in Colonial Green, will relocate to 1 Treadwell Ave. (above) at the intersection of Saugatuck and Riverside Avenues on Feb. 1, according to Franco Fellah of Westport-based HK Realty Group. The business has been at Colonial Green for five years. Westport Florist is owned by Trumbull resident Bruce Minoff, who also owns Bruce’s Flowers, 454 Main Ave., Norwalk, and Hansen Flower Shop, 1040 Post Road, Fairfield. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
UPDATE General Electric announced today that it has selected Boston for its new headquarters.
The company has been based in Fairfield for four decades with many of its executives and employees living in Westport over the years. GE said about 800 employees would be employed in Boston.
GE has been looking for a new home since last summer when it said it was unhappy with Connecticut’s corporate tax structure. Its announcement followed a report by the Boston Globe that the move was confirmed.
The Globe said the company informed Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh today. Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau also said he had been informed.
Monday, January 11, 2016
By Dave Matlow
WishList, the Westport girls’ and women’s apparel store at 606 Post Road East (opposite Fresh Market), has closed after 18 years.
According to co-owner Susan Zarrilli, a Westport resident, who owned the business with Carla Strobel of Norwalk, WishList stores also closed in Greenwich after 12 years and in Darien after 10 years.
“We served customers from 10 years old to grandmothers,” said Zarrilli. She said the business employed 25, down from 40 employees a few years ago.
“I’m tired,” she said. “After our fire in September (see WestportNow Sept. 19, 2015) causing us to close for six weeks because of smoke damage, I got to thinking more about the importance of my life and came to this conclusion to retire from the business. Our lease is up and this is the time for that decision.”
Friday, January 08, 2016
Bobby Q’s, a Westport Main Street ribs favorite since 2004, is closing March 31, owner Bob LeRose (above) announced today. The building at 36-42 Main St. was sold for $9.2 million in November 2014 by longtime owner Drew Friedman, who originally opened Onion Alley in the Bobby Q space. “While I’m sad that this chapter of my restaurant career is coming to an end, I’ll have some exciting news coming soon on my next chapter,” LeRose said. Matthew Mandell, executive director of the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce, said he hears Bobby Q’s will move to West Avenue in Norwalk. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Parker Mansion, described as an “American casual” restaurant and bar, will open this month at 541 Riverside Ave. in space previously occupied by the Mansion Clam House, according to owner Patrick Fahy (above). The space, which has undergone a major makeover inside and out, now includes seating on the second floor indoor and deck and will offer patio seating in warmer temperatures. “Our menu has a wide range, serving everything from hamburger to filet mignon,” Fahy said. He added that the restaurant owns nine boat slips along the Saugatuck River so sailors can pull right up to the property. He owns two other restaurants, Parker Steaks & Scotch in Trumbull, and Parker Eatery & Bar. Mansion Clam House closed in October 2014 (see WestportNow Oct. 12, 2014) after being there since 1958, according to its website. The property, which includes the adjoining Julian’s Brick Oven Pizza, changed hands in April 2014 for $2.1 million. The listing said the building was built in 1900. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Salon de Beaute, formerly Bar de Beaute, 24 Taylor Place, is relaunching its business with expansion to a full service hair salon in addition to its ongoing clinical skin care services, according to owner Judith Connors. Bar de Beaute opened in July 2014 (see Westportnow July 24, 2014) in the space formerly occupied by Jacadi Children’s apparel and its successor Chic Jolie, women’s apparel. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Jeera, Little Thai Kitchen, has opened at 165 Post Road East, next door to Trattoria Finalmente. Owner Jeeranunn Atiportunyapong (l), who goes by the nickname Luna, said the restaurant specializes in central Thailand cuisine and is open for lunch, dinner, takeout, and catering. In addition, the restaurant has a BYOB policy. Atiportunyapong said for the past five years she has also owned a Thai takeout-only food service at 216 Crown St. New Haven. With her is family member and business associate Ae Thananont. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Thursday, January 07, 2016
Work is progressing toward the opening later this month of the Harvest Restaurant, 36 Railroad Place, in the space formerly occupied by Mario’s Place. The owners also operate Cava in New Canaan, Harvest in Greenwich, New Haven, Scena in Darien, and 55 Degrees in Fairfield. Mario’s closed in April. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Tuesday, January 05, 2016
An AT&T store has opened at Westport’s 180 Post Road East in the recently renovated space previously occupied by Michele’s Pies, which closed in 2014 after three years (see WestportNow July 17, 2014) and for 40 years before that by Baskin Robbins, which closed in 2010 (see WestportNow Sept. 28, 2010.) According to AT&T employee, Orlando Sanchez (above), popular items are home security products and services, DIRECTV home installations, mobile phones and tablets. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Monday, December 28, 2015
The Harvest Restaurant, 36 Railroad Place, in the space formerly occupied by Mario’s Place, is now scheduled to open the second or third week of January, according to co-owner Nuve Siguenza. There had been a report that the restaurant hoped to open by the end of December. The owners also operate Cava in New Canaan, Harvest in Greenwich, New Haven, Scena in Darien, and 55 Degrees in Fairfield. Frank ”Tiger” DeMace, co-founder of Mario’s with the late Mario Sacco, died in 2012 at age 78. Mario’s closed in April. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Saturday, December 26, 2015