WESTPORT — Barton Partners, an urban design firm based out of Philadelphia was unanimously chosen to design Saugatuck Center for a price of $437,550.

“We’re thrilled,” said Seth Shapiro, principal of Barton Partners, and lead for the Saugatuck Center project. “We’re so excited. We were excited when we visited Westport because we thought Saugatuck presented itself as really being ripe for the kind of change we like to see.”

Just under the $440,000 Transit Oriented Development grant awarded by the state to Westport in June, Barton Partners beat out 13 other bidders for the job. The Saugatuck Transit Oriented Development Subcommittee chose to interview five firms and, after two days of vetting, settled on Barton.

“The public realm, the spaces between the buildings and sidewalks, are undefined and also unworthy of Westport. They can be improved in such a way that makes this whole neighborhood stand out and much more pedestrian friendly than it already is,” Shapiro said.

Barton Partners does the bulk of its work for private companies, about 80 percent, according to Shapiro. He said that projects on their website, like 1919 Market St. in Philadelphia, PA, a high-rise building, are on a much larger scale than what they plan for Saugatuck.

More Information

Projects by Barton Partners

1919 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA: a 460,000 SF new mixed-use high-rise apartment building on a 0.78 acre previously vacant lot. The building includes a 28-story tower with 321 rental housing units, first floor retail, second floor office use, two penthouse levels, a full floor of indoor and outdoor amenities, and an attached 5-level parking garage with 215 spaces. The resulting collaborative and distinctive contemporary design of 1919 in harmony with its surroundings will be a dynamic addition to the city skyline.

Voorhees Town Center, Voorhees, NJ: Voorhees Town Center is the conversion of the Echelon Mall into an outdoor ‘town center; a boulevard lined by luxury apartments above upscale shops, businesses, and restaurants. The mall has been reduced in size, while the new town center features commercial space, a clubhouse, and 317 apartment units and 108 condominiums. Professionally landscaped and lighted, the Voorhees Town Center will be destination shopping at its finest.

40 Park, Morristown, NJ: 40 Park is a new mixed-use condominium building located in the heart of downtown Norristown. The site is the former Epstein’s Department Store into a mixed-use condominium building. The seven-story mid-rise contains retail space below grade and the first level as well as 76 for-sale condominium units. The units range in size from 1500 sf to 3000 sf and are located on floors two through five, with two penthouse levels above.

Cathy Walsh, a committee member and Planning and Zoning chairwoman, said the committee ended up going with her first impression.

“They ended up being my first pick and I thought the process worked well. There were many things that they presented that I think will really work well for the town,” Walsh said.

Barton has a meeting next Friday, Feb. 3 at 8 a.m. in front of the Saugatuck TOD Committee and will set up multiple public meetings. They will also set up a website for the public to participate in some public surveys, Shapiro said.

Committee member Matt Mandell said, “Barton came, they did their homework and I think they really understood the sensitivity of the area and gave that to us and showed that they would be careful in protecting it as well as looking for ways to do new things that may be beneficial to the town.”

@chrismmarquette; cmarquette@bcnnew.com