Urban infill office-retail building seeks to achieve ‘design appropriate’ for neighborhood

When planning a new premium-quality commercial building in a town with historic character, it is prudent to incorporate non-contemporary features that allow it to blend into its surroundings without attempting to mimic older architectural styles.

Internally, it should also offer a range of modern conveniences both prospective tenants and customers have come to appreciate and expect.

The new three-story, 40,000-square-foot Main Street West building, located at 1251 Main St. in Napa, meets and exceeds these criteria.

With an Indian restaurant, an upscale Italian pizzeria and other retail businesses on the street level and office suites above, this mixed-use building was custom tailored to expand Napa’s pedestrian-friendly atmosphere while also being design appropriate for the community.

“The city of Napa is an urban suburb where many people park in downtown garages and walk to their offices or shops,” said Doyle Wiseman, owner of the Wiseman Company, a developer of commercial office buildings in Solano, Yolo and Napa counties since 1979. “Napa has been revitalizing its downtown over the past seven years. Our new building has a timeless, attractive look that belongs in the neighborhood.”

Developers ensured that the building’s systems were on the cutting edge of cost control and energy conservation by using submeters, fluorescent lights, occupancy sensors and highly efficient HVAC systems that maximize fresh air.

Main Street West provides thermal comfort through the use of HVAC zones specifically designed to meet their needs in each area of the building. The structure allows as much natural light into tenant suites as possible. This is achieved through the use of multiple windows as well as open halls and doorways that permit light to be transferred to interior office spaces.

Special on-site filtration processes and stormwater management controls limit the disruption of natural hydrology and potential water pollution by removing contaminants from runoff. All of the building’s operating systems are frequently tested, calibrated and verified by a team of in-house technicians to ensure that they perform at projected levels.

Through the concerted efforts of contractors and suppliers, the potentially negative effects caused by erosion, sedimentation buildup and excessive dust were minimized during construction.

Worksite conditions were strictly monitored to reduce the environmental impact throughout the construction process and to mitigate the effects of this project on nearby businesses and residents.

An innovative portable and temporary flood-wall system was devised to protect ground floor businesses from potential Napa River overflows. This three-to-five foot barrier can be installed in a few hours around the building’s street level masonry walls and stored in back of the structure when not in use.

“The exterior of the Main Street West building features a series of deep-set punched openings for windows in walls,” according to Derek Dutton, principal with TWM Architects and Planners. “A large articulated cornice runs along the main facade for 240 feet. Its design signature is broken into five visually attractive elements that alternate between two complementary styles. While most of the building’s characteristics tend toward the traditional, aluminum window frames and signage panels in front of the building are modern. Outdoor illumination includes up and down lighting to soften potential glare and to showcase key structural features.”

Artwork by Lisa Wiseman, daughter of the developer, adorns the lobby and other public areas.

Main Street West is the Wiseman Company’s second Class A office building in Napa, following the completion of the firm’s first building at the site of a former Army and Navy store at First and Main. Both were designed by TWM and built by Otto Construction.

“We design our facilities for people who want to work in an urban area and who also value quality. We place great emphasis on providing amenities while also supporting environmental protection and the preservation of habitat and natural resources,” Mr. Wiseman said.