Melanie Allen can’t wait to meet all her new business neighbors.
Ms Allen, the owner of Avance Day Spa — the first business to open at The Village At Lexington Gardens — told The Newtown Bee this week that she “can’t wait to be part of a thriving and functional business community.”
But in the meantime, she is hoping to meet a lot of new customers and curiosity-seekers who may venture over through the Village’s temporary main entrance adjacent to Caraluzzi’s Newtown Market. The local business owner, whose Avancé Esthétiques closed recently at Sand Hill Plaza, is loving her new space, which is about 90 percent complete but open for new or returning clients.
She already knows about a number of those neighbors that will be locating or relocating to the new commercial/retail plaza at 30 Church Hill Road.
Doug Rose, vice president for asset services at Coldwell Banker Commercial/Scalzo Group, has confirmed that the large building with the clock tower facing visitors as they enter — once a new traffic light is installed and operative at Church Hill Road — will be home to Dental Associates, which is relocating its dental practice from nearby Church Hill Road building.
Mr Rose said Dental Associates is also centralizing all its orthodontics practices to the Village at Lexington Gardens, making the eventual 38-chair practice the largest dental facility in Connecticut.
The dental practice will have its own elevator, parking for 80-plus staff, a central ground floor lobby to welcome patients and the entire second floor of the Village’s largest building.
An adjacent building will bring a new psychiatrist group to its second floor, above Avance, while a marketing company and a commercial lender, EverBank, are slated to be open sometime before fall and year’s end in the upper level of another building.
Mr Rose said he is close to announcing the first of two restaurants slated to occupy the front, ground floor sections in one of two buildings closer to the street.
A new standalone building right on Church Hill Road will be the new main branch for Newtown Savings Bank, which will expand its back office and administrative offices on Main Street, as well as expanding into a 3,000-square-foot training center in the second floor of a neighboring brick building housing Chase Bank and Bagel Delight (also 30 Church Hill Road).
The commercial broker says much of the remaining space is pretty flexible, however no other food service tenants will be permitted beyond the two spaces already sanctioned for that use.
“I like to say restaurants drive traffic,” Mr Rose said. And with the growing network of sidewalks that will eventually connect Main Street to Sandy Hook Center, he envisions folks arriving in town and strolling from place to place, maybe enjoying a beverage in one location, and heading over to get apps or lunch at another easily walkable eatery.
“The owners are being very particular about choosing the right tenants,” Mr Rose said. “And I’ve been filling up the professional space. When I start adding it all up, we’re looking at around 200 or 220 professional jobs all captured in a single business community, which in turn will help feed and support most of the other tenants along with their own patients or patrons.”
He is negotiating with several retailers, including a fashion retailer, a jewelry store, possibly a gym, and other similar enterprises to fill out the remaining ground floor spaces. Mr Rose believes that the number of staffers already attached to businesses that have signed leases are a big attraction to retail owners who will be looking for instant traffic.
One of the final touches will be to bring the look of the original brick building in more aesthetic conformity with the rest of its neighbors.
As he stands in the middle of the new development, Mr Rose looked back on a long history with the property.
“I’ve moved here in 1971 when Lexington Gardens was a huge destination,” he said. “I would come here to look at all the toys and crafts and other gifts and things they offered. And I never expected to go into commercial real estate but after I did, I ended up selling Lexington Gardens.”