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Rebirth Goes With the Flow in Saugatuck

When Kim Beaumont learned about Saugatuck Center , she knew it would be the perfect place to expand her Rowayton-based Dowunder Kayaks, SUPs and Surf Shop .

"Other than the fact that this is a brand-new development, right on the water, Westport is a great town—very family-oriented," said the native New Zealander. "A lot of my business is family-oriented, so this was a perfect fit in every way."

Beaumont’s shop, which opened Memorial Day weekend, is part of an equation set to revitalize Saugatuck.

It will be joined along the Saugatuck River by an organic butcher shop/market and a café in a two-building, mixed-use complex that is the first step of a three-phase project managed by Hamilton Development, an arm of Westport's Gault Inc.

In addition to the three retail spaces, there are three street-level office spaces and six apartments on a second level. A plaza sits between the two buildings, and a parking area underneath. A public boardwalk stretches along the river's edge, and there are plans for a dock with 20 boat slips.

"This is a very social project," said Peter Lane, owner of OpenHouseBroker, LLC, a real estate brokerage company in charge of leasing the complex. "We're creating an old village-center feel where people live, work and shop."

The second-phase will also consist of two, two-story buildings with a plaza and underground parking. It will include approximately 5,000 square-feet of office space, three or four retailers and 21 residences.

Construction on the second phase, across the street from the phase one, may begin in late summer or early fall, Lane said. There are no set plans for the project's third phase.

"This project is the evolution of Saugatuck. When I-95 was built, it cut Saugatuck in half," Lane said. "This used to be a thriving, intense community. This project is going to bring people back to Saugatuck."

What do you think of the plans for the Saugatuck Center?

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