Madison Village shopping center on the way

A sit-down restaurant with an outdoor patio, a coffee shop, and an apothecary is the vision, so far, for Madison Village, a planned development at 4244 Madison Avenue, once home to P.J.’s Garden Exchange.

The developer, M.F. DiScala & Co., celebrated a groundbreaking Tuesday morning at the site, with First Selectman Tim Herbst and others close to the project. The 15,400-square-foot development is set to be completed in spring 2015.

Herbst said the No. 1 thing that all Trumbullites ask him about is adding more small retail spaces and restaurants to town. He said the Madison Village project is a perfect addition.

“We are destined for great things in lower Long Hill,” Herbst said. “We are going through a renaissance here.”

Herbst thanked Michael DiScala, president of M.F. DiScala, for investing in Trumbull.

“This really began with my daughter, Portia — she lives in Trumbull,” Michael DiScala said.

DiScala’s daughter, Portia Antonio, will be a tenant, running a shop that will serve as a home décor, accessories and apothecary business, called Pure Poetry. When she decided she wanted to open a shop, she couldn’t find spaces in town that were appropriate for a small business and had that sense of community, she said.

“We had a vision of a neighborhood shopping center, as a very upscale, attractive project,” DiScala said.

DiScala said they will look for high-quality tenants.

The project will feature a central courtyard anchored on either side by a restaurant with ample outdoor seating.

Jason Wuchiski, of RHYS Commercial, the third-party leasing agent, said they are looking for tenants that can meet daily needs of the area, including a coffee shop, gift shop and others. He said it is unlikely to be an area for a national retailer, and more likely to stay local or regional. However, he said, he expects a great sit-down restaurant to be excited to move in, as the area is sorely lacking one. He also envisions another restaurant that offers counter service or takeout.

When plans began for the project, many neighbors had concerns about light pollution, the noise and negative impacts on the neighborhood. The initial plans included residential units upstairs, but plans changed, in an effort to work with neighbors.

DiScala thanked those residents for working with him and providing helpful suggestions for the project. DiScala and Herbst also thanked the many others who helped the project, including town officials and attorney John Fallon for working with concerned neighbors.

“This is proof that a good development and a good residential neighborhood are not mutually exclusive,” Herbst said.