The Downtown Westfield Corporation (“DWC”) has been dedicated to the promotion of Downtown Westfield as a preferred commercial destination serving the needs of local residents as well as visitors throughout the region for over twenty years. The organization consists of an Executive Director, an Assistant Director, numerous volunteers for our three key committees (Design, Economic Vitality, Promotions) as well as a Board of Directors with eleven volunteer directors. The directors are business and property owners in Downtown Westfield as well as Westfield residents.
As the Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, I am writing this letter to show support for One Westfield Place (the “Project”) through the collective views of our directors. This letter is the culmination of formal and informal statements received from each of our directors and the goal is to convey the importance of the Project to the Downtown Westfield business community.
By way of history, the DWC published “The Downtown Westfield Improvement Plan” twenty-three years ago. The plan stated clear goals for the development of Downtown Westfield and these goals are very much consistent with Westfield’s Master Plan and One Westfield Place. These goals include sensible in-fill development, better use of municipal surface parking lots, improved public and park spaces, and greater pedestrian access and safety.
The current reality of Downtown Westfield is that, as one Director has stated, while our number of vacancies seem to be reduced, it is still very prevalent. Another Director has pointed out that the business needs on the South Side remain neglected through lack of foot traffic. On an average weekday, our daytime pedestrian traffic leaves room for improvement especially compared to Summit and Cranford.
The good news is that over 30 businesses have launched or expanded in Downtown Westfield since 2021 including my restaurant, Akai Lounge. There are still people who are investing here and betting on the future of Downtown Westfield. These are small businesses who need support and One Westfield Place’s plans of having more working and living space will increase the daytime pedestrian traffic needed to make our beautiful downtown more vibrant on both the North Side and South Side. A thriving downtown will benefit not just commercial property values but residential property values as well.
We all understand that there are no easy answers to complicated questions. This is why the DWC has positioned itself as a key partner in the One Westfield Project. We maintain a full cadence of formal as well as informal meetings with Hudson Bay Company/Streetworks as the project evolves. The DWC sees One Westfield Place as a catalyst for growth for our downtown businesses and we respectfully ask the readers of this letter to consider the positive impact this project will have to our community.
Board of Directors, Downtown Westfield Corporation