From Restaurant to Bank – and Possibly Back to Restaurant in Cos Cob

Many longtime residents of Greenwich recall how for years it seemed every time a restaurant closed, a bank branch would pop up in its place. It happened so often, it became a joke.

A new pre application was filed this week to convert a bank into a restaurant. Or rather, back into a restaurant.

Back in 20210 P&Z approved a one-story bank building with three drive up tellers at 85 East Putnam Avenue to replace Ku, a 80-seat Japanese restaurant.

The .49 acre property is bordered by People’s United Bank branch at 119 East Putnam Ave on the east and Toyota on the west.

The bank building at 85 East Putnam Ave in Cos Cob includes five parking spaces for employees with handicap space and sixteen 16 spaces for drive-up tellers and queuing in three lanes.

The new owner proposes to replace the bank building with a 1,700 square-foot restaurant and coffee shop.

The proposed site plan would include eight standard spaces and one handicap space along with 14 spaces for queuing to the drive-up window and a bypass lane.

Site circulation would continue as it is currently configured with a one-way entrance on the westerly side of the property and a one-way exit on the easterly side of the property.

Site plan and special permits it would be filed for the new restaurant/coffee shop.

The property is owned by EJ 85 EPA LLC.

Neighbors were notified of the pre-application.

One neighbor, Thomas Steczkowski, who lives on Cross Lane behind People’s United Bank, wrote to P&Z mentioning “Gregorys Coffee” in his subject line.

He said there was a retaining wall on the site that had trees growing out of it and may be compromised. He asked that be repaired if necessary before site work commences.

If the lessee were to be Gregorys Coffee (apostrophe intentionally omitted) that would fill a gap left by Starbucks and Chocoylatte.

Located in LB Local Business zone just up Route 1 from the empty Chocoylatte building, which was destroyed in February 2020 when a car crashed into it.

A few doors down sits the empty Starbucks building by Mill Pond, which closed during the pandemic. Interestingly, back in 2016, that particular Starbucks, which operated as retail food establishment – not as restaurant use – was forced by the town to remove seating that exceeded the 12 seat limit.

Gregorys Coffee was founded in 2006 in Manhattan by Gregory Zamfotis. They offer coffee, pastries and other baked goods as well as light bites and healthy options.

Note to readers: This is a pre-application, and has yet to be scheduled for a meeting agenda, so P&Z commission and town planner are unable to answer questions at this time.
The time to comment or ask questions is if and when the application is scheduled for a public P&Z meeting. The idea of a pre-application is to dedicate about 20 minutes to the item during a P&Z meeting so the applicant gets enough feedback to determine whether to pursue an application.

Per CT Gen Stat § 7-159b (2013) pre-applications are non binding.They may not be appealed under any provision of the general statutes, and shall not be binding on the applicant or any authority, commission, department, agency or other official having jurisdiction to review the proposed project.