NORWALK, Conn. Stanley Seligson envisioned a changed West Avenue neighborhood two decades ago. On Wednesday, Seligson was there to celebrate the end of all the planning as the groundbreaking was held for a development that is now known as Waypointe.
About 40 to 50 people attended the celebration, enjoying light refreshments under a tent before moving to the open air of what had been a topsoil-screening business to watch as city officials and project-backers shoveled dirt that had been spread for the occasion.
"I was born in Norwalk and obviously it is a very special part of me," Seligson said. "We've done other projects in town but nothing as ambitious as this or as important to me as this. I do believe the economic benefits to this project, not only to the taxpayers, but we're also filling up a lot of empties here in town, I think this is going to generate a lot of economic activity."
Paxton Kinol, partner to Seligson, said some of the area's residential buildings would be demolished next week. Doug Adams, vice president of development for Seligson, said site work will begin soon.
Meanwhile, business owners on Wall Street are clinging to their storefronts and will likely be there through November.
Seligson thanked city officials for helping to make the dream a reality. "All the city departments have been nothing short of spectacular in helping us," he said. "I would like to thank our mayor. Without him this project would really not have been possible."
He said the extent of the mixed-use development in Norwalk might be unique to Connecticut. "This is different," he said. "This is really creating a neighborhood and a lot of the original businesses are being relocated. I think you're going to see stores that come to Norwalk.
"When I was a kid I remember going to Sears, Roebuck. That was our anchor in downtown Norwalk, about 20,000 feet of Sears, Roebuck. You're going to see other anchors here, and you're going to say, 'This is not a new Norwalk, but an extension of what we once had.'"
Contact reporter Nancy Chapman at nchapman@TheDailyNorwalk.com .
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