Landmark Gordon Building poised for a new life in downtown Napa

By Jennifer Huffman, Napa County Register Some old buildings are said to have ghosts. Napa’s Gordon Building has a ghost hallway. The “hallway” is what’s left of the original second story in the 91-year-old downtown Napa building. The vintage doors in the hallway were once entries to private offices. Today, those doors remain, but only for looks. Behind the doors is a completely open space, waiting to be claimed by new tenants. Until then, the hallway looks like something from a movie set – a place where someone like detective Sam Spade might have an office. Todd Zapolski, managing partner of Gordon Ventures, hosted an event Wednesday night to celebrate his re-launch of the property. The 20,000-square-foot Gordon Building is located at the northeast corner of First and Coombs streets. “This is pretty special,” Zapolski said. He is proud to have preserved “a beautiful piece of architecture,” he said. For decades the property stood mostly vacant; then in 2014, significant damage as a result of the Napa earthquake caused it to be red tagged and unable to be occupied. As part of the seismic strengthening, the restoration has painstakingly repaired the building’s Italian fire-brick exterior and grand interior, retaining its classic charm. “This has been an extensive project, and we’ve been careful to maintain the Gordon Building’s grace while making significant structural improvements,” said Zapolski, who is offering new space for a flagship retailer and offices. “I feel fortunate to have had the chance to contribute to the longevity of this local treasure, and to begin welcoming the thriving business that will be the foundation of its long future,” he said. Constructed...

Copperfield’s Books returns to downtown Napa

By Jennifer Huffman, Napa Valley Register Copperfield’s Books is returning to downtown Napa – directly across the street from where it was once located back in the 1980s. Part of the First Street Napa development, the new 3,665 square foot space will offer “tremendous ambiance, while staying true to its brick-and-mortar roots and continued commitment to literature, education and community,” said a news release. The bookstore is currently located in Bel Aire Plaza next to Whole Foods. The future home of Copperfield’s is located on the 1300 block of First Street across from Eiko’s restaurant. A toy store was one of the more recent tenants of that space. During the days of the Napa Town Center, it was the front the of the former McCaulou’s space. “Being so community oriented, we’re delighted to be back in the vibrant downtown environment we once occupied,” said Paul Jaffe, president, Copperfield’s Books. “With the renewal of the city center, we are ready to move back to the street where we opened the very first Napa Copperfield’s Books 30 years ago. We look forward to being part of the exciting retail environment at First Street Napa.” “Copperfield’s return to downtown is a very welcome reunion,” said Joe Fischer of Strong & Hayden. Fischer is the commercial broker working on the First Street Napa project. Jaffe explained that in the 1980s, Copperfield’s in Napa was once located at the corner of First and Main streets (across the street from Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Co.). Later, it moved to the other corner of First and Randolph streets (now Napa Square). In addition to providing a...

New retailers coming to First Street Napa: Cupcake, I-ELLE, Wayfarer, Wade Cellars, Newfound Wines

By Jennifer Huffman, Napa Valley Register Three new tenants — two retailers and one wine business — are the newest merchants announced for downtown’s First Street Napa complex. Two specialty stores, Cupcake and I-ELLE, will open in the Napa development this spring, “bringing distinctive styles to design-minded customers of all ages,” said a news release. In addition, Wayfarer, Wade Cellars and Newfound Wines recently opened an office on the second floor of the former McCaulou’s department store. That space is now remodeled and leased for office use. Cupcake children’s wear A Northern California children’s boutique since 2005, Cupcake offers “a curated mix of clothing, gifts and accessories” for babies and children to age 10, said a news release. Founder Jenny Romeyn set out to create “a beautiful, imaginative shopping environment filled with creative, on-trend pieces for sweet and stylish kids, and has attracted a loyal following at her Santa Rosa and Healdsburg locations,” said the release. “There’s such creativity in children’s fashion and the designers we carry do an amazing job combining playful details with a modern aesthetic,” said Romeyn. “We’re thrilled to bring our stylish range of baby and children’s clothing and gifts as well as exceptional customer service to Napa,” she said. “Our customers will also find exclusive items and product lines we’ve selected just for this store.” Cupcake is scheduled to open in the in Suite 325 across from Compline, near the cork oak tree. I-ELLE and Tukked I-ELLE, a boutique offering “high-quality staple pieces with lasting style,” will move from Yountville to First Street Napa. The store, founded by the late Cathy Levine, is now...

Visit Napa Valley’s Welcome Center to Relocate to First Street Napa

From Wine Industry Network Advisor Visit Napa Valley’s official Napa Valley Welcome Center will open in First Street Napa in the Fall of 2020. Buildout is underway on the new 2,550 square-foot visitor center that will be located adjacent to Makers Market and across from the Mayacamas Downtown tasting room. “The diversity of shops, restaurants and amenities make First Street Napa a must-visit stop for any Napa Valley trip. Now, with the addition of the Napa Valley Welcome Center, it will become an even more natural starting place to explore all the region has to offer,” said Todd Zapolski, principal and managing member, First Street Napa. “Visit Napa­­­ Valley has created this exceptional asset for tourists and business travelers, and we look forward to working with them to warmly welcome visitors.” Since first opening at the Napa Riverfront in 2011, the Napa Valley Welcome Center, which is managed by Visit Napa Valley, has welcomed more than one million visitors. More than 80 volunteers and five staff members collectively speak more than ten languages and provide local expertise, as well as complimentary concierge services, maps, magazines, and other collateral materials. The Mercantile retail shop features locally crafted gift items as well unique home décor. “We’re excited to have the Napa Valley Welcome Center be an integral part of First Street Napa – making this valuable resource more accessible for both visitors and local residents,” said Linsey Gallagher, president and CEO, Visit Napa Valley. “The Welcome Center is often the first stop for many visitors who are either unfamiliar with the Napa Valley or for those seeking new and unique experiences....

First Street Napa district is fast becoming Wine Country’s hottest neighborhood

By Kristen Haney, Napa Sonoma Magazine On a recent weekend, downtown Napa was a bustle of activity. Valets whisked cars away from the Archer Hotel, as the sound of laughter and clinking silverware floated down from its rooftop bar and eatery. Duos flitted in and out of shops, arms laden with purchases. Oenophiles swirled on the sunny patios of tasting rooms, sipping vintages bottled just a few miles away. Once dismissed as a quick stopping point for visitors on their way to and from Napa Valley, downtown Napa is positioning itself as a destination in its own right, with the ambitious $200 million–plus First Street Napa development cementing it as a place to linger. The three-block, 325,000-square-foot project brought 18 new businesses to the city center in 2018, with a spate of retail, lifestyle, and service enterprises due in 2020. The mixed-use complex not only houses stores, restaurants, and tasting rooms—many independently and locally owned—but also features work spaces, “living” walls of plants, and artwork created and curated by residents of the region. The First Street Napa Courtyard hosts frequent events, from a monthly Saturday craft fair selling wares from local artisans alongside live music, to carolers filling the square on weekends during the holiday season. And the energy First Street Napa injected into downtown Napa is still building. At full occupancy, the complex will house close to 40 tenants across its three blocks, positioning it as a powerhouse retail, restaurant, and tasting-room corridor in the years to come. The project’s reach keeps growing, too. Zapolski Real Estate—one of the main drivers behind the First Street development—has been renovating...