Vision for financial services center becomes reality

Location: 955 Franklin St., Napa

Owner: Napa Square Associates LLC, Napa

Developer: CDI LLC, Napa

Description: 65,000-square-foot, three-building office and retail complex on less than an acre of downtown Napa, including renovation of an existing 9,200-square-foot Wells Fargo Bank building

Completion: June 2009

General contractor: ZCON Builders, Roseville

Architecture: structure -- MCA Architecture, Planning & Interiors, Napa, and Don Sandy, San Francisco; landscape -- vanderToolen Associates, Napa

Engineering: mechanical - MK2 Engineering, Napa; structural -- Phillips Group, Sacramento; electrical -- Spartan Electric, Napa

Lender: Wells Fargo Bank

Tenants/occupants: U.S. Select Holdings LLC, Gordon Huether & Partners, Norman Rose Tavern, Oenotri restaurant, Wells Fargo Advisors, Charles Schwab, Retirement Capital Strategies, Wine Valley Insurance, Holman Teague Roche & Anglin LLP, US Bank

Real estate representation:   Cathy Holmes, Coldwell Banker Commercial Brokers of the Valley, Napa

Property management: CDI Development & Realty Inc.

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NAPA -- The Napa Square development has been successful in becoming a downtown hub for financial services firms, but the retail aspect of the project ended up satiating a different appetite.

Construction began on the three-building, 66,300-square-foot complex on the block bounded by First, Second, School and Franklin streets in October 2006. It was finished nearly three years later amid upheaval in both the financial services and retail sectors of the economy.

"We started off with a really good project, to build a financial center we didn't feel Napa had at the time," said Rodger Heggelund, managing partner of CDI Development & Realty, which organized entities for the endeavor and manages the property.

In early 2006, project developer CDI LLC formed a joint venture with Napa-based real estate investment firm U.S. Advisor, now called U.S. Select Holdings, to build Napa Square and house the company.

Today, other financial-sector tenants include Wells Fargo Advisors, Charles Schwab, Retirement Capital Strategies, Wine Valley Insurance and US Bank. Wachovia Securities relocated from elsewhere in Napa before the company's merger with Wells Fargo. Charles Schwab also moved from an older Napa building.

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Professional services tenants are CDI Development & Realty and Holman Teague Roche Anglin LLP, a real estate transaction and development, land use, climate change and business law firm.

Yet the original plan for 15 percent of the space being street-level shops shifted along with the economy. When construction was about to begin, CDI had a handful of national women-focused retailers interested in leasing space in the project.

"Then the recession hit, and they all pulled back," Mr. Heggelund said. Seventy percent of the space in the development was reserved for lease in September 2008 at the height of the financial markets meltdown.

"With all the hotels built in downtown Napa, there was interest from folks staying there to put in restaurants," he said.

Originally, there was a plan to have one restaurant in the complex to serve tenants. Norman Rose Tavern opened in December 2009, followed by Oenotori pizzeria in February of this year.

On the retail side, Gordon Huenther has a fine art gallery in the development. High-end cookware seller Napa Valley Kitchen Gallery is set to relocate from Lincoln Avenue early next year next to Norman Rose Tavern. In the former Wells Fargo Bank building, Spinelle Fine Jewelry plans to close by the end of this year, to be replaced by The Playful Garden.

The beginnings of the project go back a dozen years. That's when principals of CDI Development & Realty acquired the block bounded by First, Second, School and Franklin streets.