What’s all the buzz about in Darien? If you live in or around this Fairfield County town, chances are you’ve heard talk of the potential downtown transformation. With new developments come new opportunities, and in turn, new home owners. In fact, in a recent story in The Wall Street Journal, it becomes clear that Darien’s proposed plans for a rapid redevelopment in residential options, retail and even recreation have piqued the interest of empty nesters in search of high-end apartment-style living in an overall compelling New England setting.
The project is a team effort. The goal is to significantly enhance the pedestrian experience of downtown Darien with the creation of an automobile-free town green designed to accommodate the town’s Farmer’s Market, concert series, theatrical productions and even an ice rink in the winter. Bicycle racks will also be installed throughout the area, furthering the endeavor’s recreational component. Surrounding this new center, plans include the construction of 66 luxury apartments, 80,000 square feet of office space in three buildings and 70,000 square feet of retail space in six buildings, all while carefully retaining the charming pre-war aesthetic for which Darien is known and loved.
“The developers behind this proposed revitalization, dedicated residents David Genovese of Baywater Properties and Penny Glassmaker of PG Properties, have an outstanding track record of redeveloping other parcels of land in town,” explains Darien agent and local expert Amy Barsanti, who serves as a citizen member of the town’s RTM, or Representative Town Meeting. “They pay particularly close attention to hiring experts that will tirelessly work to maintain the historic architectural elements of the area, designing new buildings that blend seamlessly into the existing streetscape.”
Fellow Darien agent Ingrid Hess agrees, reiterating the stellar reputation and quality work of both firms. “Baywater Properties has continuously been redeveloping the larger downtown area in small, thoughtful ways, successfully adding new housing, shopping and dining facilities,” comments Hess. “The partners have shown us how much they care about the town with the resulting beauty of their work. Everything they have done thus far has been a major improvement for Darien.”
Project architect Robert A.M. Stern aims to build residences ranging in size from 1,500 square feet to 2,000 square feet, with the ability to combine units. Standout features will include light-filled areas with high ceilings, designer kitchens, wood flooring throughout and the incorporation of outdoor space, among other conveniences such as walk-in closets, ensuite washers and dryers and more. “Efforts to transform our downtown corridor will reinforce and serve the growing trend of buyers looking for downtown living,” adds Barsanti.
On the retail end of redevelopment, Bob Gibbs of Gibbs Planning Group, known for his amazing work in Naples, Fla. and around the country, plans to add to Darien’s already thriving downtown, with the establishment of supplementary space for locally owned shops featuring high quality service and merchandise. The stores will open around the proposed town green, embracing the new streets and offerings of the revitalization.
“This proposal is one of the most extensive downtown revitalization projects we have seen in recent memory,” explains Hess. “If approved, it would be a stunning gift to Darien, with its quaint New England village design, created by one of the most notable architects of our time, Robert Stern. The town green, surrounded by unique boutiques, alluring cafes and restaurants, and anchored by a big-name New England retailer, would give all residents a place to gather and enjoy the outdoors while meeting friends, shopping, dining and so much more.”
For more information on the much-anticipated revitalization of Darien, please visit http://yourdowntowndarien.com.