NAPA -- Downtown Napa is experiencing a growth spurt destined to revitalize the area and attract more shoppers, diners and tourists.
"More restaurants and retailers are moving to town and hotels are adding rooms, spas, wine caves, and wedding venues," said Robin Kingbeil, project coordinator with the Economic Development Division (cityofnapa.org).
The Napa renaissance was jump started between 1999 and 2011 when $986 million in downtown public and private investments were reported, according to the division's annual downtown Napa retail business and construction update.
The recent surge in commercial activity began in 2012 with 26 new downtown storefronts and six business relocations.
[caption id="attachment_74208" align="alignleft" width="350"] Artist rendering of the new look for The Shops at Napa Center, scheduled for completion in 2014[/caption]
Todd Zapolski, owner of the Shops at Napa Center (renovation to begin in July with completion in 2014), says a new 185-room hotel will be part of this redesigned shopping center at 1300 First St.
"In three to five years, I expect to see 1,000 rooms built in new three to five-star hotels downtown," Mr. Zapolski said. "Twenty percent of the Napa Center’s 150,000 square feet of commercial space is set aside for up-quality food and beverage establishments."
New enterprises opening this May included the Napa Empire Restaurant adjacent to the Andaz Hotel at 1400 First St., and the Napa Valley Bistro at 975 Clinton Street.
Mercantile Social debuted last September focusing on small plates, along with the Farmers Table Restaurant at 1450 First St. in the Andaz.
"The Mercantile Terrace opens in June with cocktails, wine and food on our second floor terrace at the Andaz with fire pits and cabanas," said Aaron Feeney, director of sales and marketing.
New enterprises opening this May include the Empire Napa Restaurant adjacent to the Andaz Hotel at 1400 First St., and the Napa Valley Bistro at 975 Clinton Street.
Two new wine tasting rooms plan to open in 2013. NakedWines.com at 1141 First St., and Capp Heritage Vineyards at 1245 First St. will join 21 established tasting rooms in Napa.
Also being planned is the St. Clair & Brown Winery and Brewery to be located at Vallejo St. and Action Avenue.
An application was filed to build a Burger Fi Restaurant at 967 First St., at the former Riverside Auto Service Center location.
"We teamed with Florida-based Burger Fi to bring this fresh, never frozen brand to town," said Johanna and Steve Hasty, owners of Noble House Construction, who plan to open their restaurant in October.
A number of Napa establishments have been remodeled, including the Thomas Restaurant and Fagiani’s Bar at 813 Main (with an outdoor rooftop dining area and views of the Napa Rover) -- also owned by the Hasty family.
"We’ve set a benchmark for saving old structures while making them relevant today. People enjoy sitting at a 40-year old bar. Buildings like this should be saved and recycled, not abandoned," Mr. Hasty said.
Other restaurants have been upgraded or received seismic retrofits, such as Zuzu, at 829 Main St.; Molinare Caffe at 815 Main St.; Starbucks at 1005 First St.; Napa Valley Biscuits at 1502 Main St.; the Rocabello Bistro Lounge at 1106 First St.; and the Oventi Restaurant, at 1990 Trower Avenue at Highway 29.