Commercial Real Estate Guide 2012: New effort to market Napa's Copia

Vacancy rates for the majority of office and industrial space in Napa County was unchanged in the third quarter from a year before, despite several large leases and sales.

The vacancy rate for office space in the business parks in southern Napa Valley was 13.2 percent of 2.57 million square feet, according to Keegan & Coppin/ONCOR International. That's virtually unchanged from the 13.1 percent vacancy a year before but nine-10ths of a percentage point lower than in mid-2012.

ACA Financial Guaranty Corp., owner of the shuttered 80,000-square-foot Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts building near downtown Napa, in June started marketing nearly 65,000 square feet of it as office and commercial space through Cushman & Wakefield's San Rafael office. That idea came from an inquiry by giant wine and beverage producer Constellation Brands, which ultimate chose not to act on the plan for a corporate offices for its North Coast brands, according to Joe Fischer, a longtime Napa development consultant working with Rogal + Associates on options for the property.

Copia opened in November 2001 after more than a decade of work by Robert Mondavi himself and other backers. It closed in November 2008 amid a bankruptcy filing because of $80 million in debt. Bond financier ACA Financial took possession of the property.

Wine order fulfillment services provider Wineshipping in August expanded its new Napa base of operations to nearly 208,000 square feet at 80 Technology Ct. in Napa Valley Gateway Business Park in south Napa. In spring of this year, Wineshipping subleased 150,000 square feet of wine warehouse from Constellation Brands and has been investing millions of dollars in improvements and automation, was is intended to meet the company’s projected needs for the next half-dozen years. The company previously was based in a 78,000-square-foot warehouse at 21481 Eight St. E. south of Sonoma.

Napa-based Biagi Bros. Transportation & Warehousing absorbed 115,000 square feet of warehousing space left vacant when giant Constellation Brands consolidated its North Coast back-end operations amid post-recession inventory adjustments. Biagi first subleased 65,000 square feet then another 55,000 at 50--80 Technology Way in Napa Valley Gateway.

Creekside Napa I LLC, led by the Indelicato vintner family, converted the all-office Napa Valley Gateway building at 455 Devlin Rd., formerly the headquarters of shuttered wine fulfillment provider New Vine Logistics, to 70 percent warehouse. In March, that nearly 27,000 square feet was leased to Benchmark Wine Group for casegoods storage.

Online retailer or fine and rare collectibles Blicker Pierce Wagner Wine Merchants, better known as BP Wine, and the owners’ new “flash” online wine sales venture Last Bottle Wines are growing so quickly that they are have secured a south Napa warehouse four times the size.

Owners Cory Wagner, Brent Pierce and Stefan Blicker on Aug. 15 purchased a 30,000-square-foot warehouse building at 607 Airpark Rd. in south Napa for $2.8 million. Community Action Napa Valley’s food bank will continue to occupy 8,000 square feet of the building after the partners’ ventures consolidate into 22,000 square feet there in December or January.

BP Wine currently has a 5,000-square-foot warehouse in St. Helena, and flash sales startup Last Bottle Wines from a leased warehouse in Napa.

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