Opportunity Knocks in the City of Napa

napalargeI’ve lived in the town of Napa at the Southern end of Napa Valley for only four years. I cam from Sonoma and still feel like a Sonoma Boy. Napa just doesn’t feel like home, yet. However, I have been regularly coming to the town of Napa for more than a couple of decades and can say that the revival of the down town in the past 10+ years is among the most remarkable examples of redevelopment I have ever seen.

Now I read in the Napa Valley Register that the Copia Building is going up for sale again. Built and opened with great hopes in 2001 as The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, its arrival in town really marked the beginning of the Napa Downtown revival that now attracts people to the city where before it was ignored by visitors who passed it by and went directly up valley.

Copia now sits empty next to the popular Oxbow Market on First Street in the Oxbow District of Napa. The Oxbow District is bisected by 1st Street at the eastern edge of the thriving Main Street-First Street axis in Downtown Napa. Proper development of this area is critical to the town. It already attracts numerous visitors to the area, but especially locals, who spend freely and the mouth-watering offerings of different food-related stores inside the Oxbow Market.

It is possible that with the Copia Building on the Market and with two adjacent lots just east of Copia having been acquired by the same investment group, something special for the Napa economy could be put in place here. The lot just east of Copia has previously been approved for a luxury hotel and resort run by the Ritz Carlton group. Then the recession hit, the buyers defaulted and the new buyers picked it up along with a lot across the street.

I wouldn’t want to speculate on what the grand Copia building could become. However, its future is of great interest to city planners and city boosters who rightfully believe that with proper development, the Copia Building and the surrounding area could serve to turn Napa into one of the most interesting wine country-adjacent town in the country.

No word yet on the price at which the Copia Building will be listed. It cost $78 million to build. That’s not going to happen. Look for something just north of $20 Million.

6 Responses

  1. tom merle - August 19, 2014

    Word has it that Harry Price and friends are in negotiations with ACA. Mr. Price owns Napa’s historic Hatt building downtown, and has been a big supporter of finding uses that will keep Copia Copia. If the building’s cost goes down significantly as the article indicates (the bond holders insurance company wasn’t willing to come off their price for Mr. Price in the past) it may be viable particularly if there is a hotel in the mix.

  2. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo - August 19, 2014

    Hello Tom, I didn’t realize that you were a Napan now (or have been)! We moved back to north Napa ourselves, in October of last year. It would be wonderful to see something *finally* go back into the Copia space, besides just temporary offices for various groups (including the production group behind the new Bottlerock, I believe). It is a prime space and, indeed, could be a crowning addition to the great Napa downtown revival.
    Downtown Napa is currently in the best shape that I’ve seen in my lifetime. Cheers to further improvements!

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