The developer who purchased the long-vacant property at 249 Danbury Rd., across from Town Hall, has locked in an anchor tenant, and it’s a big one. Western Connecticut Medical Group, Inc., an affiliate of the Western Connecticut Health Network, has signed a long-term, 15,000 sq. ft. lease to open a primary care health facility in the building that will include internal medicine, family care, women’s services and urgent care.

Western Connecticut Medical Group is affiliated with Norwalk Hospital, Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital as part of the Western Connecticut Health Network.

The development, owned by New Canaan-based Cambridge Hanover, will become known as the Wilton Wellness Center. According to Sean P. McDonnell, principal with Avison Young (the commercial real estate services firm which represents the owner), there will be an additional 35,000-plus sq. ft. of medical space on the second and third floors at the new medical center, which he says will be a “state-of-the-art medical facility.”

The building, which will be demolished down to its steel skeleton, has been specially designed for medical use and will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation–including the addition of a third floor. Building renovations and construction are scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.

“Demand in the market has been so great that the developer secured town approvals for the addition of a third floor to the new medical center,” McDonnell says. “There is such a strong need for newly designed, state-of-the-art medical space in Wilton and the surrounding area, where with little exception, medical facilities are dated and inefficient. Upon completion, the new Wilton Wellness Center–which is equidistant from Norwalk and Danbury Hospitals–will be the premier medical office property in lower Fairfield County.”

Locking in a deal with an anchor tenant dedicated to primary care was key to Avison Young’s marketing plan, to help draw other tenants. The appeal? Chances are high that Western CT Medical Group’s doctors will generate referrals for specialists and diagnostic practices right in the same location. McDonnell says two leases for additional tenants are currently out for signature, and the brokers expect several more commitments in the second quarter.

Suited for Medical Space

The developer saw the parcel at 249 Danbury Rd. as an ideal site for medical space. The property is flat with abundant parking, good visibility and signage, and direct access from Route 7 with two existing traffic lights and turn lanes for easy access and exit. More than 28,000 vehicles pass by the location each day, as Route 7 is the major thoroughfare connecting I-95, I-84 and the Merritt Parkway.

McDonnell says that the location was key–near the center of Wilton, convenient to all the area’s major hospitals, and easily accessible to nearby towns–and that the project provides much needed medical services not only for Wilton, but surrounding towns such as Ridgefield, Weston and New Canaan.

“Wilton has a severe lack of medical services right now,” said McDonnell, who also played a key role in bringing the iPark Medical Center to nearby Norwalk. “Demographics have shifted, with an increase in families with young children requiring both the primary care services and urgent care access to avoid unpredictable emergency room waiting times. It is extremely gratifying to see this project become a reality.”

Cambridge Hanover also purchased an adjacent 1.3-acre parcel at 241 Danbury Rd. and is exploring developing a multi-use project which will complement the medical center.

The six-acre site, which was previously owned under a long-term land lease by Stop & Shop and subleased at various times as corporate headquarters of HomEquity and Bran Blau, had been largely underutilized for the previous 15 years.