California Centers Magazine: Bearing Fruit Up North

California Centers Magazine
Nellie Day | Jan. ‘16

Napa may be full of wineries, hot restaurants and lush scenery, but there is one thing Tommy Miller, managing director and CIO at Trademark, thinks it’s missing.

“We believe the Napa Valley market is chronically underserved for high-quality shopping, including fashion, specialty, Tommy Miller, managing director & CIO of Trademarkpersonal care and wellness options,” he says. “Napa is one of the most special and dynamic visitor markets in the U.S. and abroad. But unlike comparable desirable destinations, Napa has no compelling concentration of upscale shopping opportunities. We believe the dearth of quality shopping to complement the Napa Valley experience is not sustainable long term and we are near the breaking point.”

Fort Worth, Texas-based Trademark is hoping to change all this with the addition of First Street Napa, a 275-000-square-foot project that will house about 40 shops and restaurants, creative office space and the 183-room Archer Hotel in the city’s downtown.

Miller believes the three-city-block area along First Street is an ideal location for this new project for many reasons. First, the area is undergoing a $30 million improvement program. First Street has also recently been converted from a one-way street into a two-way street, easing traffic and providing better access to drivers coming off Route 29. The location is also across the street from the Andaz Hotel, and is situated near the famous Oxbow Public Market and Culinary Institute of America.

“The First Street Napa location is the most strategic property assemblage downtown and the only one with the capacity and entitlements to bring 40-plus new shopping and dining venues to one location,” Miller says. “This is the best place in the Napa Valley to deliver the critical mass of world-class shopping that the market needs.”

Like many of the above-mentioned projects, First Street Napa welcomes a diverse tenant mix that includes local purveyors – especially those who can utilize the outdoors.
“We are seeking the best of the best international, national, regional and local merchants,” Miller says. “Tenants will be encouraged to engage with the outdoors via roll-up steel doors, Nana Wall systems, generous patios, and awnings and shade structures.”

Miller states that although he’s aware online retail channels can be a major competitor to bricks and mortar, he isn’t extremely concerned about it due to the type of product Trademark is hoping to deliver.

“While online shopping is expanding every year, the need for truly special bricks-and-mortar shopping experiences is not going away, particularly in locations like the Napa Valley,” he says. “It is well documented that online sales increase in physical locations where the omni-channel retailer has a physical presence. Further, emotional experiences are not created in cyberspace, particularly in special places like Napa where wine, food and shopping are part of the visitor experience. In a way, First Street Napa will be such a special destination that it will in no way compete for shopping dollars with the online realm.”

We’ll drink to that.

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