It takes a village to create The Village

The Village, a redeveloped waterfront site in Stamford’s South End, is bringing together storytellers, entrepreneurs and artists.

Covering 133,000 square feet with nearly 1,000 feet of walkable marina, The Village, a massive redevelopment in Stamford’s South End, fuses office space and private event venues with world-class food and beverage offerings. 

Sounds interesting, so who’s behind it — bound to be some big names, right?

Right. Anchoring The Village is ex-MTV producer, media magnate and entrepreneur Brent Montgomery and his Wheelhouse brand, launched in 2018 in partnership with Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”. Wheelhouse Properties, Wheelhouse’s real estate arm, was founded and is run by Brent’s wife, Courtney Montgomery, née Napurano, who is The Village’s developer.

Er, Wheelhouse Brand?

The company comprises four businesses — Wheelhouse Entertainment; marketing arm Wheelhouse Labs, investment arm Wheelhouse Partners and the aforementioned Wheelhouse Properties. Kimmel is a partner and his production business, Kimmelot, is part of Wheelhouse Entertainment. 

Sound as if it’s all come together pretty quickly.

Correct. Plans for the four-floor property coalesced in late 2017, when the Montgomerys acquired the site and structure for $7.6 million, through an entity known as Stamford Media Village.

With all due respect, $7.6 million doesn’t sound like a whole lot these days.

True, but what may seem like a snip for a waterside site in Stamford, a city which is growing apace (albeit not without some growing pains), is a great deal of cash if you’re left with a white elephant on the water. Not that that’s going to happen, obviously. 

And the Montgomerys have a connection to the area?

As Greenwich residents, the Montgomerys have witnessed Stamford’s rise as a media hub in the past few years. Trust us, these guys know what they’re doing.

Any other businesses joining the party?

Absolutely. The growing real-estate operation under the Wheelhouse aegis, private social clubs and ITV America are all coming aboard. 

ITV America?

That’s the British-founded TV channel and reality-TV powerhouse, which is now the largest independent, nonscripted producer in the U.S.A.

And we’re assuming green credentials?

The large-scale, work/play environment also encompasses Connecticut’s first LEED v4 commercial building, making it outstandingly energy-efficient.

So, what does The Village actually look like?

Stripped down and gutted, with its slender red brick borders framing vast leaded windows, the redevelopment could be described as post-Victorian meets state-of-the-art modern car showroom. Which still doesn’t do justice to it, because this is a very good-looking construction indeed. The original structure is over a century old and once operated as a wire factory.

And the “feel”?

Think once-sleepy waterfront with a touch of urban grit — a backwater canal where fisherman could happily while away an afternoon, mingled with a bit of edgy, “Bonfire of the Vanities” realism. In other words, it’ll be fun working, having dinner or weekend brunch here or drinking by the marina late evening, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to wander around the parking lot at 4 a.m. 

And who’s designed this beauty?

That would be Stamford-based CPG Architects, with Norwalk-based A. Pappajohn leading the building work.

Tell us about the restaurants.

As you might expect, eating and drinking are going to play a big role at The Village. Cisco Brewers, the well-established but super-hot brewery out of Nantucket, is going to give The Village a seaside vibe. And then there’s The Wheel, with its mouth-watering menu of modern classics, everything carefully and responsibly sourced. (A full review of The Wheel will appear in September WAG.) Oh, and look out for the tequila bar upstairs, where leather, marble and velvet create an atmosphere that is simultaneously sophisticated and playful.

Outside space?

You bet. With dozens of wooden tables at the back of the concourse lining the Czescik Marina, The Village is going to break the old hospitality industry axiom that great food and good views don’t mix.

Anything else going on?

Masses. In addition to the art, entertainment, food, tech and finance, expect a curated calendar of events, with diverse pop-up experiences focused on music and the arts. There’s also a multipurpose rooftop garden and a fitness studio.

Family friendly?

Glad you asked. You, the spouse, the kids, the girlfriend, the boyfriend, the au pair, the grandparents, the dog, even the family bunny (The Village loves pets): Everyone is going to feel ever so welcomed here.

And accessibility? 

The Village is just a mile away from the Stamford Metro-North and Amtrak railroad station, which means, at least in theory, it’s walkable for commuters who can’t face the all-day backups on adjacent I-95.

Last word?

 “We like to joke that The Village is our version of Disneyland,” Brent Montgomery says. “It’s where you get to meet all the characters.” 

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