NORWALK, Conn. — Removal of the bright orange Stew Leonard’s sign began Friday morning at the famous Westport Avenue store as preparations began for a major renovation of the building.
When it’s done, shoppers won’t be walking through tented areas to get into the store; instead, the “hoe down” and the garden area will be an enclosed building, in a 10,500 square foot addition approved by the Norwalk Zoning Commission in August.
Architect Ray Sullivan told the Commission that the main entryway will become a two-story space with “a lot of high glass,” and there will be a separate exit. The footprint of the building isn’t expanding as the new structure will be where the temporary structures are now.
“What we’re trying to do is really enhance the entrance, kind of clean up all those multiple structures … tents fade over time that they’re not the exact same color. So we’re just trying to clean up the whole entry to the store and make the entry a little bit more dominant, and kind of simplify the structures,” Architect Ray Sullivan said Aug. 5 to the Norwalk Zoning Commission.
He said the work also includes 2,000 square feet of office space on the second floor and increased accessibility via an elevator and a second staircase.
Former Norwalk Common Council member Doug Hempstead, a Republican, retired a year ago from his post as Stew Leonard’s Vice President, but is involved in the renovation.