North Bay Business Journal
Written by: Jeff Quackenbush
The roughly $200 million, 345,000-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…