Sunday, July 14, 2024


Daybreak Housing Set to Open in December

By James Lomuscio

The former Daybreak Nurseries at 500 Main St. is getting a sidewalk to nowhere — a small price to pay for the town’s newest housing complex under construction, Daybreak Commons Westport. Image
One of the nine homes under construction at Daybreak Commons Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

The more than 700 feet of walkway will wrap from Main Street to Weston Road and to the entrance of the complex’s nine, 55 age-restricted homes going up on the 2.2-acre site.

Johnny Schwartz, principal of Norwalk’s Able Construction, Inc., said the sidewalk is what the town required, and because it was a state road, a whole host of state requirements had to be met as well.

But it’s not for naught, Schwartz said. Someday, it might connect to walkways at the intersection of Main Street and Compo Road North.

“And when someone comes to Westport for the first time and sees sidewalks, it gives you a good impression that it’s a healthy community,” Schwartz said.

Healthy and livable is the image that Schwartz and business partner Peter Greenberg are promoting for their development of five single-family homes and four duplex units. Image
Partners Johnny Schwartz (l) and Peter Greenberg of Able Construction survey one of the new homes. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

For motorists, the 2,800-square-foot, two-story, full basement homes going up stand out at the busy intersection of Main Street, Easton Road and Weston Road, near Exit 42 off the Merritt Parkway.

The project is expected to be finished in December, Schwartz said, and each of the units replete with elevators and generators, will have a $1.25 million price tag.

Greenberg and Schwartz, in several appearances before boards and commissions for approvals over the past five years, said the development would be a welcoming gateway to Westport for motorists getting off the Merritt, much like the former Daybreak Nurseries’ iconic, curved glass conservatory was.

Daybreak Nurseries, which opened in December 1941, closed six years ago, and Greenberg purchased it for $1.35 million in a foreclosure agreement in February 2014.

In keeping with Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) conditions of approval by a 5 to 2 vote last year, Greenberg and Schwartz seem to be closely watching every step of the process.

It took them several years to get P&Z approval last year, withdrawing applications after pushback, reducing the number of units from 12 to 11 to nine. Image
An artist’s rendering of Daybreak Commons Westport. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed graphic

On Tuesday, masons were dressing up the property’s perimeter with a stone wall under construction. As a truck pulled in to drop off another payload of harvested stones, Schwartz was at the far end of the property, near a cul du sac where the two duplex buildings are planned.

He was talking to Ted Gill of the Westport’s Engineering Department, who was surveying the 34 concrete drainage tanks fronting a breakaway fire truck emergency entrance off Main Street.

“Everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be,” said Gill. “Every step has been inspected.”

Greenberg and Schwartz gave WestportNow a tour of two of the homes nearing completion.

“We’ve customized each unit to take advantage of the location, to maximize lighting and privacy,” Greenberg said.

He pointed to: the wide-width oak floors; energy efficient Pella windows where the mullions create the effect of true divided light pane; the wiring for electrically-operated shades; a gas burner; a gas fireplace; a generator; and an elevator shaft where the lift from the basement to the second floor would be installed. Image
The “sidewalk to nowhere” is under construction at Daybreak Commons Westport.  Required to gain approval, the sidewalk does not connect to any other sidewalks (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

“It’s a three-stop elevator, so this building is handicapped accessible,” Greenberg said.

He also said each unit would have two full bathrooms and two half-baths.

“At the end of the day it will be great,” Schwartz said, adding that if in hindsight he knew of all the permitting struggles, he would have had second thoughts.

“It was a worthy struggle,” said Greenberg. “There is a need for this.

“We’ve learned a lot of about what we would have done differently,” he added about his prior application. “We’re very happy to know we’re getting there. “

Greenberg said that even though the project is six months from completion, the development has already piqued the interest of those who have visited Able’s website.

“We have a list of interested parties already,” he said.

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