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...

New ‘opportunity zones’ offer benefits to Napa investors, developers

By Jennifer Huffman, Napa Valley Register Napa’s Westwood and downtown neighborhoods might not seem to have much in common, but both areas should benefit from a new investment tool called opportunity zones. The rules around the program have taken shape in recent months, but a 2017 federal tax law offers significant tax breaks to investors who fund new developments, such as housing or commercial projects, or fund new businesses in those designated opportunity zones. Napa has two such zones: one in downtown Napa and one in the Westwood neighborhood west of Highway 29. In downtown, developers of a planned hotel at the site of the old post office and a makeover underway at the historic Gordon Building credit opportunity zone benefits with boosting their projects. “It’s a great opportunity for Napa,” said Robin Schabes, city of Napa economic development manager. Jim Keller, the co-developer of the Franklin Station hotel at Napa’s historic downtown post office, said benefits from the opportunity zone designation were the tipping point to bring on new partner Cypress Equities. “It’s a huge advantage,” said Keller. “It opens up the door for a lot more aggressive investment and more people to invest because of the benefits.” “Would this have happened if we weren’t in an opportunity zone?” Keller asked rhetorically. The chances were 50-50, he said. His five-story luxury hotel project is scheduled to have a preliminary review before the city’s Planning Commission on Thursday evening. Opportunity zones are a good thing for Napa, said Mayor Jill Techel. For those properties or buildings that would be expensive to rehabilitate, for example downtown Napa’s Gordon Building on...

Remodel of downtown Napa’s ornate Gordon building to begin

By Jennifer Huffman, Napa Valley Register It’s been sitting unused and empty since the August 2014 earthquake in Napa, but changes are in the works for downtown’s historic Gordon Building. Property owner Todd Zapolski of Zapolski Holdings announced plans to begin a complete renovation and earthquake retrofit of the 1930s-era structure, noteworthy for its glazed terra cotta siding and cast-molded floral detailing. “It’s a jewel,” said Zapolski. “It’s an iconic piece of downtown and we want to get it back in service.” Designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, the Gordon Building is located at 1130 First St. The major section facing First was completed in 1929, the section in back along Coombs Street Plaza in 1935. A partnership including Zapolski Holdings bought the building in 2013 from George and Jacqueline Altamura. The plan is to fold it into the First Street Napa project on the west side of Coombs Street Plaza. Zapolski Real Estate and partner Trademark Property Company are redeveloping that center, which now includes tenants such as Lululemon, Tommy Bahama, Lush, Kalifornia Jean Bar, Mecox and others. The Archer Hotel Napa, developed by LodgeWorks Partners, anchors the block. After Zapolski’s 2013 purchase, some commercial tenants remained in the Gordon Building. Space for lease was advertised. “Then the earthquake hit and we pretty much shut it down,” said Zapolski. Today, the building requires extensive retrofitting and major structural improvements, Zapolski said. “It’s very complicated engineering,” but, “once it’s done it’s an absolute tank.” From the outside the Gordon Building will retain its historical look, he said. The two-story, 20,000-square-foot building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places...