Twin buildings rising on the banks of the Saugatuck River -- where the iconic Gault Fuel tanks stood for decades -- are the talk of the neighborhood.

The structural steel frame of Saugatuck Center Phase One, hammered together for weeks next to the Saugatuck Fire Station, now is being supplemented with wood framing.

Gault representative Megan Smith said the developer anticipates a May 1 completion date for the first phase of the project.

The twin, 2.5-story buildings, Tide and Marsh, will each include 33 underground parking spots, 4,504 square feet of office space, and six new luxury rental apartments with waterfront decks.

The buildings show up mostly pink on architectural renderings. "They look Nantuckety," Smith said.

The drawings show the footprint of the fuel tanks as a green circle, which later will be planted with greenery and flowers.

Tide and Marsh also will have elevators to transport tenants, customers and visitors from the underground garages, which will include bays for bikes.

Neighboring Saugatuck business owners welcome the Saugatuck Center construction.

"This is excellent and good for the community," said Frank DeMace, owner of Mario's restaurant on Railroad Place. "Anything Gault has a hand in is done with excellence and the community benefits. This will be good for our business and businesses all over Saugatuck. Who can be against this?"

Peter Aiken, owner of the Black Duck, 60 Riverside Ave., said he's happy to see the buildings rising. They are in line of sight from the Black Duck parking lot.

"This can only be good for us, bringing more customers," Aiken said. "Anything Gault does is truly top rate and, as experience had shown, benefits the community. I can't speak too highly of this Saugatuck Center development."

Gault Vice President Jim Donaher said the development began in 2004, when the Planning and Zoning Commission changed the Gault property from commercial to mixed-use status. That meant office, retail and apartments could be built on the property Gault owned in Saugauck on both sides of Riverside Avenue.

Construction on the entire project is expected to be complete in 2015.

"We consulted residents of Saugauck and they were in favor of us trying to reinvent the village atmosphere of long-ago Saugatuck," Smith said. "As a result, we are planning to make the new Saugatuck village a destination for all Westporters and visitors from outside Westport."