Lease signed for relocation of Kemper-Gunn House
Updated 3:01 pm, Thursday, September 11, 2014
Those signing the two documents, including a ground lease, were David Waldman and Dan Zelson, partners in the Bedford Square and DC Kemper Gunn LLC projects, First Selectman Jim Marpe and Selectman Helen Garten, who chaired the town's Kemper-Gunn Advisory Committee.
"This has taken a lot of effort by a lot of people for two years to get to this point," Marpe said prior to signing the document.
Waldman said he was pleased at the outcome that averts demolition of the 19th-century Queen Anne-style house, which had been initially anticipated to make way for part of the multi-use Bedford Square project at the site of the Westport Weston Family Y. "My wife wanted me to find a way to keep it," he added.
Now that the 98-year lease is signed, Waldman said workers will begin "staking off property" at the Elm Street parking lot "and install fencing."
The town will be paid taxes on the historic property as well as $15,000 base rent from the tenant in the first six years, Garten had said previously.
He said site work will begin next week and he hopes to have the house moved by early November. The relocation, he added, will involve removing the porch, jacking up the building, putting it on steel supports and then on a cross girder before hauling it on to the roadway to its new foundation.
Once it's moved, the house will be re-purposed for commercial and office use.
The structure was saved from the wrecking ball last October when the Representative Town Meeting, in a unanimous vote, overturned a 4-2 vote by the previous Planning and Zoning Commission that rejected the proposed move.