A Hartford-based developer is ready to transform a retail outlet into something entirely different.
Lexington Partners proposed redeveloping the Westbrook Outlets into a mixed-use campus at a cost of $425 million, the Hartford Business Journal reported. The president of the firm said the goal was for the site to “feel like a town center.”
A limited liability company owns the 257,000-square-foot property and would partner with Lexington on the redevelopment; Lexington would receive a minority ownership stake in the property. It’s managed by Levin Management and last traded hands in 2017 for $37 million.
Lexington envisions a complete revamp of the 50-acre property, which would require four retail buildings and a cinema to be knocked down. Those retail properties are not performing well, evidenced by the 25 percent occupation of its spaces.
In place of those structures, Lexington would erect 966,000 square feet of apartment space, stretching across five buildings. There would be a total of 595 apartments, most of which would either be one-bedroom or two-bedroom units. Lexington also plans for 100 townhomes, a hotel, restaurants and entertainment space.
The commercial space would span nearly 74,000 square feet, mostly dedicated to eateries. The plans also call for a 14,000-square-foot amenity space with a pool and a 1,000-seat amphitheater.
Lexington wants to break ground in the first half of next year, depending on receiving necessary permits.
Such large-scale projects sometimes face community opposition, but officials in Westbrook seem interested in the development proposal, which should ease the process for any needed rezonings — the project largely conforms to the local zoning, though building heights exceed current limits.
“What they are proposing to do falls almost exactly in line with what the property needs,” Westbrook town planner Peter Gillespie told the Journal.
Among the obstacles Lexington will need to overcome are potential relief from parking requirements, a wetlands review and traffic and environmental reviews at the state level.
— Holden Walter-Warner