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Whether people are window shoping or at local restaurants and support other retail businesses.
Lee Papageorge, who has owned Oscar’s Deli for 23 years, said he was excited about the Bedford Square project, which will take about two years to complete and will include approximately 60,000 square feet of retail and office space and 30 residences.
“I don’t think any landlord will be against it in this area,” Papageorge said. “It’s going to bring more shoppers. It doesn’t matter if they’re window shopping, or making purchases. They end up supporting all kinds of food services.”
Papageorge said Bedford Square will also help Westport residents as it will bring in a high tax revenue.
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“A strong commercial and office-zone space is going to help the residents,” he said.
Demitri Zervos, owner of Tavern on Main, was intrigued by the idea of an underground parking garage at Bedford Square and enthused about bringing more people to downtown.
“That is what we want,” he said. “Anything they build in Westport, I’m for it.”
John Zervos, manager of Tavern on Main, said the project will help, not hurt their downtown business.
“It definitely will attract a lot more people and attention to the town,” Zervos said, adding that projects like the Westport Cinema and Bedford Square will bring more people downtown.
Lisa Parrelli Gray, executive director of the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce, said the project will definitely enhance the town’s tax base and make Westport even more of a destination than is already is.
“The amenities we enjoy in town are a direct beneficiary of the tax base that exists here in town,” Parrelli Gray said, noting amenities like Longshore Club Park, Compo Beach and the Westport Library.
Parrelli Gray said she was thrilled with the Bedford Square project design and prospects for Westport. She said this is something that will further connect businesses with the community, something the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce strives for.
“I think David Waldman and his associates have done an excellent job of meeting the needs and the growing needs of Westport and our surrounding communities,” she said.
Everybody wins when residents can understand and appreciate what a business brings to a town, according to Parrelli Grace.
“We need to do a better job educating people that live here on the value of what a business community brings to their home town,” she said. “People who might be disapproving or the project probably aren't as well educated on the project as they could be.”