Downtown Westport has added a new page to its retail lineup, with Friday's opening of Paper Source in the center's newest commercial building at 100 Post Road East.
Paper Source is a national paper retailer, which sells a range of merchandise, including greeting cards, stationery, gift wrap, fine and artisanal papers, and art supplies. The Westport Paper Source also carries a number of humorous books such as The New York Times No. 1 bestseller, "Go the F--- to Sleep," and other light-hearted products such as Wonder Woman aprons and Sesame Street and Star Wars glass sets.
"It's a great company and it has a great location here," said Rob Haroun, principal of Old Westport Town Hall LLC, which owns 100 Post Road East. "I think this building will be a great asset to downtown Westport."
Haroun is also president of SIR Development LLC, a Westport-based residential and commercial development firm.
Paper Source occupies a 2,900-square-foot space in the new Post Road East building. It will soon be joined by the New York City-based clothing retailer Steven Alan, which is scheduled to open an outlet Feb. 23 in an adjacent 1,600-square-foot storefront, according to Haroun.
Standing between Old Town Hall and a Bank of America branch, 100 Post Road East is the first new commercial building in downtown Westport in 45 years, according to Haroun. The edifice has a tan-brick exterior and includes an outdoor terrace, 25 on-site parking spaces and ramps for strollers and disabled customers. Local architects Bill Achilles and Rick Hoag designed the building.
To make way for the new structure, SIR Development last year demolished an unused bank kiosk on the site, which allowed drive-through banking services for a former TD Bank branch at Old Town Hall at 90 Post Road East. Construction of the new building started in May 2012.
Paper Source and Steven Alan join several recent additions to the Old Town Hall complex, which is also owned by Old Westport Town Hall LLC. On its first floor, Old Town Hall houses a Spruce Home & Garden store, while it has office space on its second level for the hedge fund BlueCrest capital.
A new restaurant could open in a 2,500-square-foot space in the lower level of 90 Post Road East by the spring, according to Haroun.
Development of 100 Post Road East required the granting last year of six zoning waivers known as "variances" by the Zoning Board of Appeals, which allowed SIR Development to erect the new building on the formerly vacant lot. The Planning and Zoning Commission in March 2012 approved a site plan for 100 Post Road East.
"The biggest kudos I have to give is to the Westport zoning staff," Haroun added. "Three or four years back, if you wanted to do something and you went to the zoning office, there was an automatic answer of no. Now they realize you can't operate in that type of environment. I couldn't have done this without the help of the zoning department and the zoning commissions."
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