Darien soon will have a new eatery at the corner Center Street and Post Road.

Darien developer Ken DeLeo is turning a commercial building that once housed a consignment store and a print shop into a 4,800-square-foot Italian restaurant with office space on the second floor.

"We're really, really close," said DeLeo, concerning unnamed prospective tenants for the restaurant. "We really like the guys and we hope it'll work out."

DeLeo said the restaurant, which will have 934 Post Road as an address, will have 90 seats inside and 24 seats on a 1,500-square-foot patio surfaced with permeable paving blocks facing Center Street.

"There will be no run-off," he said.

A 25-foot landscaped area will be installed between the patio and the street per town regulations, DeLeo said.

"We had to give that to the town for future parking," he said.

The print shop was knocked down to make space for this area, but 1,200 square feet of space will be added to accommodate a new entrance, bathrooms and interior space for garbage and recycling, said DeLeo, who bought the property last year.

The building, which was erected in the beginning of the 20th century, was a grocery store until the 1970s and then a flower shop, before having a short period as a used furniture store, DeLeo said.

The project on Center Street will become one of several new restaurants that have come into town over the past few years, said Drew Kirby, the owner of nearby Kirby Collection, a maker of collegiate furniture at 26 Center St.

"Darien has never been a destination for eating, but now it can be," he said.

Restaurants that have opened in the town in recent years include The Melting Pot, Cosi and Burgers, Shakes & Fries.

The downtown area has seen many new businesses come in, said Carol Wilder-Tamme, president and chief executive officer of the Darien Chamber of Commerce.

"Since I've been in Darien since 1995, the face of the central business district has changed dramatically for the good," she said. "With new shops and restaurants, there has been more feet on the streets and people coming to town."