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Westport Daily Voice serves Weston, Westport

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New Look, Uses Planned For Westport Y Revealed

WESTPORT, Conn. – Underground parking, residential apartments and more space for restaurants and retail stores are in downtown Westport’s future if plans for the redevelopment of the Westport Weston Family Y facility are approved.

The Bedford Square project seeks to transform the facility into a mixed-use development with residential, retail and commercial uses that include a public gathering space and a concealed underground parking garage off Elm Street with 100 spaces.

Among the project's highlights are 30 one- and two-bedroom residential units, a total of 50,000 square feet of retail space, more than 5,000 square feet of restaurant space and more than 5,000 square feet of office space, said Karen Johnson, a spokeswoman for Bedford Square Associates. The group has a contract to purchase the Y facility and also owns the adjacent properties at 35 Church Lane, known as the Gunn property.

"This project that we're proposing really complements what's already happening in downtown Westport," Johnson said during a news conference Tuesday. “We're adding to that energy in the downtown area.”

Designed by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, the project would repurpose and renovate the the Bedford Mansion, built in 1923, and the historic firehouse, which also dates to the 1920s, said Johnson.

The Y’s Weeks Pavilion Complex, which was built in the 1970s, would be removed as part of the project. Three new buildings would be constructed on the Gunn property — two of which would replace the two buildings currently on the site.

The redevelopment would also bring wider tree-lined sidewalks around the property, an internal courtyard and other outdoor seating areas. Several proposed walking paths would give access around the property and to other parts of downtown, such as Main Street and the Baldwin parking lot on Elm Street, said Mark Herter, a Centerbrook architect.

To maintain the charm and character of downtown, the new buildings on the Gunn property would be constructed in the same Tudor-style of the Bedford Mansion and the firehouse, Herter said.

“We’re taking the unique aesthetics of those buildings and extending it down to Elm Street,” he said.

Before the project can move forward, the plans need to be reviewed and approved by a number of town boards, including the Historic District Commission, the Architectural Review Board and the Planning and Zoning Commission.

If the project is approved, Bedford Square hopes to begin construction in the fall of 2014, when the Westport Y will relocate to its new Mahackeno facility, Johnson said. The Bedford Square project would likely take 18 to 24 months to complete, she said.

For more information on the project, visit Bedfordsquare.com .

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