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Revitalization in Works for Westport’s West Bank

WESTPORT, Conn. – With plans to revitalize the National Hall complex on the west bank of Westport’s Saugatuck River, a Norwalk-based real estate investment firm is pushing to expand the parking garage on Wilton Road.

Greenfield Partners, which owns National Hall and several other buildings in that complex, plans to move its corporate headquarters to the National Hall property at 2-8 Post Road W., said William Fitzpatrick, an attorney for the firm. This is partly why the firm wants to construct a third level to the garage at 27 Wilton Road, which it also owns.

“The parking demand generated by the office use will exceed the parking demand of the building’s prior uses, including the use of the property as a hotel,” Fitzpatrick told the Planning and Zoning Commission at a recent meeting.

National Hall, a historic Westport landmark, has been sitting empty for two years since the Inn at National Hall closed its doors. Last October, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a text amendment submitted by Greenfield Partners that essentially allows it to transform the property into offices.

The amendment, known as Text Amendment 638, eliminated a restriction on office use on the first floor of National Hall and other buildings in the Historic Design District. It also removed a control that limited office uses to 10 percent of the zone.

Proposed exterior renovations to National Hall were approved by the Historic District Commission earlier this month. This includes a small addition to the rear of 8 Post Road W., Fitzpatrick said. These plans will go before the Planning and Zoning Commission at a later date.

The addition of a third level to the garage would increase parking by 36 spaces, from 97 to 133, Fitzpatrick said. Not only would this accommodate office workers, it would also support retail and restaurant uses planned for other buildings in the complex.

“Currently, there are plans well under way to put a restaurant on the lower floor of 12 Wilton Road — that’s where Greenfield exists,” Fitzpatrick said Tuesday in a phone interview. “There are also plans well under way to put a restaurant on the first floor of the old fire house as well.”

Laurence Bradley, director of Planning and Zoning, said Tuesday that Greenfield Partners has not submitted any site plans or special permits for restaurants to his department.

Fitzpatrick said his clients would move forward with those plans once the parking garage extension was approved. “We can’t submit anything until the parking garage is in place,” he said.

The Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposed parking garage extension during a work session Thursday night.

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