A major downtown commercial building, 125 Main St., was sold Friday for $33.5 million by a partnership that includes the prominent Westport developer David Waldman -- a deal worth more than double the building's sale price five years ago.
Campana 125 LLC acquired the 27,000-square-foot building, which houses outlets for two national clothing retailers, The Gap and Brooks Brothers Women, as well as a hair salon, FRINGE125. In late 2007, a partnership comprising Waldman and Acadia Realty Trust bought the property for $16.5 million from Sue Senie.
"Acadia and I sold because the price was reflective of the current market conditions and, as a result, made solid economic sense for Acadia to sell," Waldman said in an email Monday.
Waldman is also the president of the commercial real estate firm David Adam Realty, headquartered on Church Lane in the town center.
Campana 125 LLC has retained David Adam Realty to manage and lease 125 Main St. The property has 3,000 square feet available in its lower level, with Campana "close to a deal" for a new restaurant in that space, according to Waldman.
Representatives of Campana 125 LLC could not be reached for comment.
Following its acquisition by Waldman and Acadia, 125 Main St. went through an approximately $6.5 million renovation, which paved the way for relocation of The Gap's downtown Westport stores into one 17,500-square-foot retail space. Before it opened its three-floor outlet last year at 125 Main St., The Gap had stores at 35 Main St., 69 Main St and 89 Main St.
The sale of 125 Main St. will net the town approximately $84,000 in conveyance taxes.
"This [sale] reinforces the fact that Main Street is a very desirable location, primarily for the national chains," Steve Desloge, president of the Downtown Merchants Association, said in an email Tuesday.
The consolidation of The Gap's Main Street establishments at 125 Main St. facilitated a new influx of national retailers to downtown's central shopping thoroughfare. During the last year, the fashion label Theory opened a store at 89 Main St., a Nike Running outlet and an Allen Edmonds shoe store opened at 69 Main St. and a West Elm home furnishings and decor store debuted at 35 Main St.
"The sale of 125 Main Street solidifies Westport as a recession resistant area," Waldman added. "The buyer understood the history, saw the recent transition and bought into the future."
Waldman has emerged in recent years as one of the most influential and active developers in the town center. As the managing member of a partnership that owns the Sherwood House at 26-28 Church Lane and the adjacent 101-107 Post Road East, he has overseen the redevelopment of both of those buildings during the last two years. The Sherwood House underwent a substantial renovation before the Spotted Horse Tavern debuted there in late March. A few weeks earlier, an Urban Outfitters clothing store opened at 101-107 Post Road East.
On the other side of Church Lane from the Spotted Horse stands the Westport Weston Family Y, the prospective site of a major new mixed-use complex. Waldman is a principal in a development firm, Bedford Square Associates, which has contracted to acquire the Y's current downtown property at 59 Post Road East, when it moves to its planned new center at the Mahackeno Outdoor Center in late 2014.
In November 2011, the Planning and Zoning Commission rejected an application by Bedford Square to re-zone 35 Church Lane, a Bedford Square-owned property adjacent to the Y's current building. The re-zoning of 35 Church Lane from Restricted Office-Retail District 2 to the Business Center District would have allowed an additional 10,000 square feet of building coverage on the property and also would have established the zoning framework for 59 Post Road East and 35 Church Lane to be combined into one property.
Since the P&Z turned down the proposed re-zoning of 35 Church Lane, Waldman has declined to comment on Bedford Square's plans for 59 Post Road East.
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