I feel like I say the same phrase every year: “It is coming!” On one hand, it is true: So many buildings and businesses are in the works to open in Napa. Yet many significant changes have occurred fueling the future of Napa, particularly downtown Napa.
The former Copia food and wine museum was sold this past year to the Culinary Institute of America for $12.5 million after being shut for seven years. The CIA is keeping the Greystone campus in St. Helena, but the Hyde Park, N.Y.-based organization this spring plans to reopen the Copia facility with new programs focused on food and wine, new dining facilities, an expanded calendar of special events, public museum and other consumer-focused experiences.
Also, the institution’s Food Business School, the world’s first business school for food entrepreneurship and innovation, will be headquartered there. This is a big win for Napa.
Housing a much needed element for success in Napa, balancing retail, office, and hotel growth. A 171-condominium complex was approved within three miles of downtown Napa and is estimated to cost $40 million–$50 million. In the first 10 years, the project will operate as a rental complex before the units — 101 with one bedroom and 70 with two — begin to be sold as true condominiums.
Even more housing will be provided, via the Napa Valley Register building. The newspaper was displaced after the August 2014 earthquake, and parent company Lee Enterprises sold the block for $5 million this past September. Now, a blocklong project will provide 51 townhomes, starting in the $400,000 range, and 6,000 square feet of commercial space.
The post office on a half-block of Second Street also was severely damaged. Instead of undertaking an estimated $8 million in repairs, the U.S. Postal Service is selling the building, and a successful bidder has it in escrow. The community awaits plans for that property.
What was — and I hope never to refer to again as — the Tuscany Building was razed, and now Bounty Hunter signs adorn the pristinely wood-painted fencing that surrounds the site of a $15 million redevelopment. The new building will house a Bounty Hunter emporium for fine food, microbrews, store for international wine and spirits, and a restaurant. The third and fourth floors will hold Bounty Hunter’s offices. The project is estimated to take three years.
MORE WINE TASTING
The Queen Anne Victorian home at 608 Randolph St. is now affectionately named the Ackerman Heritage House. Lauren Ackerman of Ackerman Family Wines has spent five years and more than $2 million meticulously remodeling this property. Ackerman got city approval to open a tasting room in a former carriage house on the property, and construction is underway.
John Anthony Truchard purchased the remaining retail under the Andaz hotel to bring in his JaM Cellars brands: Butter, Jam and Toast. A music lounge will accompany these brands west of the Andaz, while the John Anthony brands are served to the east of the Andaz entrance on the ground floor.
STRING OF NEW RESTAURANTS
A number of notable new restaurants are coming. Construction is well underway for food and retail locations at the Century Theatre Plaza, and pizza is in the lineup. Construction also is happening for video-game company founder and Napa Valley vintner Kenzo Tsujimoto’s Japanese restaurant in the old Pearl restaurant space. At the Riverfront, Fish Story is to be replaced by Basalt, a tribute to the Basalt Co. that discovered Napa’s rock quarries. Corner Napa is under construction in the last of the retail space to be completed at the Riverfront.