UPDATE: We have updated this story.

As they were opening for business at 11:30 a.m. on Monday afternoon, the staff at Jimmy’s Southside Tavern on Heights Road heard the sound of bulldozers outside their door.

Jimmy’s owner, Jim Love, who has been engaged in a dispute with his landlord since last summer. Love’s partner in the business is James Calcagnini, a Darien resident.

“At 7 a.m. that morning, I noticed cones outside our door that weren’t there on Sunday,” Love said.

The dispute involves the redevelopment of the Noroton Heights Shopping Center, which includes razing the existing buildings west of Palmer’s Market and building two three-story buildings with 59 residential units and first-floor retail, complete with a public plaza. It was originally approved in May 2017 by Planning & Zoning.

The Darien Times attempted to reach his landlord three times, and he could not be reached for comment.

Love said all he wants is to keep to the terms of his original 20-year lease, which was signed in 2010.

Loss of business

Since last summer, all the stores in the complex have moved or closed — except Jimmy’s.

Due to this, business is hurting, Love said.

“We needed all the shops to exist around us to survive,” he said.

The businesses that have relocated in town include: Wild Birds Unlimited, the Noroton Heights Post Office, Barrett Bookstore, Heights Pizza, Big Shots, and a dry cleaners. Embody Fitness Gourmet moved to New Canaan.

Businesses that closed include: Glen Wine & Spirits and Darien Doughnut.

“There is no one stopping in for a couple of beers and a meal while they wait for the train or a hair appointment, or picking up their pizza,” he said.

Jimmy’s is open for lunch and dinner Monday to Sunday.

“We have to keep our lips above water,” Love added.

sfox@darientimes.com