Derosa's is officially history.

Crews from Walker Construction demolished the Italian restaurant on Wednesday afternoon, setting the stage for a mixed-used development that will transform the historic river-side enclave into a model of modern planning.

Located at 577 Riverside Ave., Derosa's was a fixture of the area for approximately 30 years. Westport Florist and Riverside Barber Shop packed up a few months ago and have located elsewhere -- the florist right up the street and the barber shop on the Post Road. Demolition on several adjacent buildings is expected to continue through the end of the week.

The Westport Building Department reported that the town is still awaiting data in order to process the demolition permit for two oil tanks on the property, which is owned by the Gault family.

The 4-acre redevelopment project, dubbed Saugatuck Center, is the work of Hamilton Development, Gault's real estate division. Saugatuck Center is expected to be built in phases, with the first set for completion in early 2011. It will feature traditional New England style architecture designed by Norwalk-based Beinfield Architecture PC.

Already, signs up in the area are advertising space availability for the "Marsh" and "Tide," waterside buildings that will house 4,000 square feet of retail space on the street level, as well as 5,000 square feet of office space overlooking the water and six residential apartments on the second floor.

"This is a very exciting time for the Town of Westport and the village of Saugatuck," said Rick Redniss, principal of the Stamford-based land use consulting firm Redniss and Mead. "Even before breaking ground, Saugatuck Center has become a role model for the kind of small-scale, well-balanced, transit-oriented, multi-purpose, traditional neighborhood development that will be the hallmark of smart growth and new urbanism in the 21st century. When it's completed, Saugatuck Center will be a true gem of Westport, giving both the street and the riverfront back to the people."