Beckstoffer family buys Sushi Mambo building

2014-05-16T10:15:00Z 2014-12-01T09:47:26Z Beckstoffer family buys Sushi Mambo buildingJENNIFER HUFFMAN Napa Valley Register

The Beckstoffer family, long-time Napa Valley landowners and grapegrowers, have purchased a historic downtown Napa building that is currently home to Sushi Mambo.

The building, located at the northwest corner of First and Coombs streets, is the family’s first investment “in anything but vineyards,” said spokesperson Andy Beckstoffer. It will be placed in the Beckstoffer Family Trust, along with the famed To Kalon vineyard and other heritage vineyards owned by the family.

As part of the trust, the building will never be sold or demolished, Beckstoffer said. “It’s that important,” he said.

Neither the Beckstoffer family nor its business will occupy any of the space in the building, he said. Both the Roger Lewis Family Law firm and the Sushi Mambo restaurant have long-term leases that will be honored, he said in a phone interview. Beckstoffer said the family may rename it the Beckstoffer Building.

The Lewis family was the seller. Beckstoffer would not say how much his family paid for the two-story building.

The building was built in 1905, and was occupied by the Napa Valley Register until 1965, when it was converted to a downstairs restaurant with offices above. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Attorneys Roger Lewis and Robert Blevans bought the property in July 1999.

The property is located at a key location adjacent to Todd Zapolski’s redevelopment of the former Napa Town Center. Zapolski helped facilitate the purchase, said Beckstoffer.

While there is no joint ownership, Beckstoffer plans to coordinate the building’s use with Zapolski’s development of Napa Center, formerly referred to as the Shops at Napa Center and Zapolski Real Estate will manage the property, Beckstoffer said.

“Having it sort of ‘in the family’ was our goal,” said Todd Zapolski in a phone interview. Beckstoffer’s motivation was join “the action down here,” he said.

Beckstoffer’s purchase “is a great signal to the Upvalley to see that downtown Napa is where you need to be. Very few people have as much credibility …. We think it’s a great endorsement to others who still don’t get what’s going on down here,” Zapolski said.

Zapolski described Beckstoffer as his “non-partner partner.” Over time, “we will work with him on a strategy to incorporate it into the vision and experience of the Napa Center from Andaz to the Gordon building.”

Having that building in the “family,” Zapolski said, “allows us to work together, find complementary uses and a common vision.”

Beckstoffer said his family’s first concern is preservation. “No question that we want commercial success,” he said, but, “We have found that if … the project is good for Beckstoffer and the community … we can expect higher financial returns.”

Beckstoffer said that Upvalley wine interests should invest in Napa city and build their hospitality facilities there. The increasing number of hospitality facilities at wineries in the Ag Preserve is “out of balance” with winery production facilities, he said.

“We want to encourage wineries to balance their hospitality functions with their production facilities at their winery and use Napa city facilities as a major part of their hospitality function, thus protecting the integrity of the Ag Preserve and reducing the environmental concerns of increased traffic,” said Beckstoffer.

Downtown Napa merchants must get tourists to stop in the city as part of their wine country experience, said Beckstoffer. “If major hospitality facilities continue to build Upvalley, the significant investment of Zapolski and others in designated commercial areas will face event greater market challenges,” he said.

Zapolski said Beckstoffer is not the only Upvalley business owner to express interest in his project. “I’ve got four to five really significant Upvalley players trying to be involved down here. We’re getting the momentum,” Zapolski said.

In 2012, Zapolski and partners bought the Town Center and a string of adjacent commercial buildings on First Street: the Dunne Building, the former California Savings Bank building and the former Merrill’s Drug Store. In 2013, he purchased the Gordon Building.

In total, the newly renamed “Shops at Napa Center” will feature 156,000 square feet of retail space, with the owners promising to go after retailers that would bolster downtown as a place to shop, not just eat and sip wine. The five-story Archer Napa hotel is also part of Zapolski’s plans.

Work on the remodel of the center is underway, with walkways and exteriors already being renovated.

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. napa1957
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    napa1957 - May 16, 2014 11:50 am
    I remember going to field trips as a Brownie and Girl Scout in that building when the Napa Register was there. I'm glad to see that it's being put into a trust and cannot be torn down! Great idea to have event space in Napa for all the up-valley venues that cannot have them at their wineries!
    Thank you Beckstoffer Family!
  2. VERUM
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    VERUM - May 16, 2014 12:34 pm
    "The building was built in 1905 and was occupied by the Napa Valley Register until 1965..."

    That's it!? The rest of the story is really about the continuing focus on tourism. Referring to the building as Sushi Mambo rather than the historical nature it played in the City of Napa, is indicative of the continuing loss of anything being "local" in Napa.
  3. Oldtimenapan
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    Oldtimenapan - May 16, 2014 9:50 pm
    Maybe the beckstoffers will allow weddings there
  4. Michael Haley
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    Michael Haley - May 16, 2014 10:06 pm
    Beckstoffer not only talks the talk but he walks the walk. I totally agree with him that one ideal solution to upvalley overdevelopment is build the tourism industry up in downtown Napa where traffic is much less of an issue. I also appreciate his commitment to the future of Napa.

    I have met with him several times and interviewed him once on my old radio show, and he is one of the most courageous supporters of the ag preserve in Napa. I think he has gotten a lot of unfair criticism for the stands he has taken but he has often been one of the first to stand up and speak up for the ag preserve.
  5. Oldtimenapan
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    Oldtimenapan - May 17, 2014 6:53 am
    The reason so many people don't care for him is his opposition to wedding events at wineries in the valley. People travel 20 minutes to Sonoma County wineries because of people like Beckstoffers who have fought against allowing wineries here having the events. Dumb to send money to other counties.
  6. SushiMambo
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    SushiMambo - May 17, 2014 7:27 am
    As the owner of Sushi Mambo I have read and re read the article for a sense of where we stand in this vision of Zaploski and the 'Family' of buildings which is part of his plan for our new Downtown Napa (and apparently our space ) were we have served locals and tourists alike since 1997. Our relatively short amount of time on our lease has been respected as
    stated although is up for renewal soon and of course we respect, as wel, a vision which may not include us .I hope our value will be seen in the vision of downtown as we have always supported several Upvalley small and big wineries who use 100 percent Napa Valley grapes as we also believe this to be highly important. Many small wine families have show cased their amazing labels with us and I have always valued that kind of partnership with UpValley. While whether we stay once Ted Zaploski finishes his project remains to be seen; we respect out new landlord and his needs and remain hopeful to stay where we are.
  7. Michael Haley
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    Michael Haley - May 17, 2014 9:52 am
    Oldtime, I used to support weddings but after learning more about it and seeing what is happening with so much growth, I don't any more. Napa Valley is so small, it is way smaller than Sonoma and we just can't handle the traffic load. We had to focus on what we do best to make sure that works for us. Beckstoffer was one of the people early in involved with the ag preserve and I think he understood that from the beginning.
  8. Michael Haley
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    Michael Haley - May 17, 2014 9:53 am
    Sushi, you will find out when you see how much they want to raise your rent. :)
  9. SushiMambo
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    SushiMambo - May 17, 2014 11:47 am
    Michael, Sushi Mambo has always paid Market rent and current Market rent :) I am not sure if it would be about unaffordable rent in a decision of whether we stay where we are (or not) in the next couple of years, as Zaploski and his vision for downtown is completing its process. :) For now, however, we are focused on continuing to serve our wonderful customers, for as long as we are able.
  10. NapaMark15
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    NapaMark15 - May 17, 2014 9:21 pm
    Michael, what kind of a comment is that? Seriously?
  11. Oldtimenapan
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    Oldtimenapan - May 18, 2014 8:16 am
    Traffic? You can't be serious. Most weddings have between 150-250 guests. It's simple to limit the size of these types of events. I know because I've had two daughters get married and did a lot of research. We ended up going elsewhere because of the likes of the Beckstoffers. I grew up in this Valley, picked prunes as kid, I have a love for my hometown, but these wine people are just selfish.
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