The roughly $200 million, 325,000-square-foot First Street Napa project is supposed to transform three blocks of downtown this fall into what’s being billed as an experiential destination for visitors and locals alike.
Built in the late 1980s, the Napa Town Center was purchased by downtown-reinvigorator Todd Zapolski’s firm in 2012, just after the city approved a new approach to the area. Renovations started on center in 2013. Then came the major earthquake of August 2014 that damaged buildings in and around the project.
And the project was expanded to include a hotel. A 183-room Archer Hotel is now the anchor of the project, and now is set to open in October, after a big rain delay earlier this year.
Zapolski Real Estate has partnered with Trademark Property on the commercial space. LodgeWorks Partners is at the helm of the hotel part of the project.
The Business Journal spoke with Zapolski, managing member of Zapolski Real Estate, and Craig Smith, executive director of Napa Downtown Association, about how the First Street Napa project fits into a big shift in Napa Valley’s largest city over the past several years from farmtown frumpy to “agrarian elegance.”
What’s the status of First Street Napa now?
TODD ZAPOLSKI: The hotel is behind delivery. We hoped to have it in February and now it looks like October. The hotel is a key part of what makes this whole engine move.
We’ve dealt with it all: We’ve had earthquakes. We’ve had a hotel worker labor union trying to hold us up. We had the flooding of this year — probably the biggest rains in California’s history. You name it; we’ve dealt with it.
But we have (the) retail (portion) moving along, and now we have office (space) going into the second floor of what was McCaulou’s department store.
First Street Napa currently is numerous projects, it’s our whole district, which goes from the corner of Franklin and First all the way up to Main Street. It’s three full blocks.
The original project, which you may call Napa Center, the old Napa Town Center which was enlarged, rebranded and reworked, that encompasses about 140,000 square feet. Of that 140,000, we’re about 110,000 in retail and 30,000 in office.
The office (space) is 78 percent preleased. We’ve signed Pacific Union, the No. 3 residential real estate company in the Bay Area; Silicon Valley Bank and John Anthony Family Wines, which is a number of brands, moving the corporate headquarters into the building.
We have two remaining spaces: one smaller space and one medium space.
Of the retail we have in-hand, signed leases we’re probably in the 30 percent preleased, with another 30 percent to 35 percent in pretty serious negotiations. That includes the retail space that’s part of the hotel building. It sits under the hotel, but we own it. It does not include Charlie Palmer Steak, which is part of the hotel.
As we start to look to put the lights on, we have great momentum. And despite the noise in the marketplace about retail, we have a very attractive product for people who are going to find a true destination, experiential retail experiences. We get good buzz, then when it starts to open and people see it starts to take off.
The project goes down the street and includes the Beckstoffer Building, which is the former (Napa Valley) Register. And that building is 5,200 square feet, and a single floor is leased to the Brown family estate. The first floor is at lease negotiations for retail use.
First Street Napa project
Completion: Set to open in phases, starting in fall 2017.
Description: 325,000-square-foot mixed-use development with 110,000 square feet in 45 shops and restaurants, new 30,000 square feet of office space and a 183-room Archer Hotel.
Project office: 1300 First St., Napa; 707-257-6800; www.firststreetnapa.com
Cost: $200 million-plus.
Primary: Team Commercial
Roofing: CSA Roofing
Project general plan: 505 Design
Original landscape plan: RHAA
Landscape enhancements and finishes: MFLA
Project finishing elements: Field Paoli and locally Von Saal Design Build
Civil: RSA+, Napa
Structural: ZFA Structural Engineers, Santa Rosa
Retail: Zapolski Real Estate and Trademark Property
Archer Hotel: LodgeWorks Partners
The Doctors Company, Napa