A former outlet mall outside St. Helena is undergoing a renovation and will become home to a new restaurant and tasting room.
Edwin and Stacia Williams, owners of Cairdean Vineyards, purchased the vacant shopping center at 3111 St. Helena Highway in January 2011 for $3.7 million, according to county recorder office documents.
Most recently known as St. Helena Marketplace, it was once an outlet center with tenants such as Brooks Brothers, Coach, Tumi, Escada and Jones New York.
In 2007, the ownership group, St. Helena Outlet Partners, floated plans for a 50-room, $750-a-night hotel and a spa, restaurant and bar. Those plans did not go forward.
Later, the nonprofit Nimbus Arts moved in. However, the property was foreclosed upon in October 2010. At the time, the debt on the property totaled $5.7 million. The mall was subsequently listed for sale for $3.7 million.
Tracy Kaae, Cairdean Vineyards manager of operations, wrote in an email that Edwin and Stacia Williams chose the former outlet property because St. Helena “is an incredible place with a strong sense of community as well as our home.”
“We like to think of the work being done as a facelift which will help beautify the area while keeping it in line with the natural aesthetics,” he said.
Because 22,588 square feet of space previously featured a restaurant and retail uses, the couple applied for and received building permits to revive the center under that same use, said Charlene Gallina, county supervising planner.
“They are looking at renovating the whole center,” which will include a tasting room and restaurant, she said. “The new restaurant is under construction now.”
Kaae said the restaurant should open within a year. A chef or operator has not been identified, “but we have narrowed it down,” he said. He declined to elaborate further on potential additional uses for the property.
The Williamses created Cairdean Vineyards in 2010, Kaae said. Cairdean means “friends” in Scottish Gaelic, according to the company website. Stacia Williams is noted on the website as winemaker and owner. Edwin Williams, Stacia’s husband, a former
aerospace engineer, has taken over vineyard operations, it said.
The couple also owns a 50-acre parcel next to the former outlet mall. According to county planning documents, they plan to create a new winery complex at 3125 St. Helena Highway. The property could feature a 50,000-gallon-per-year winery, plus winery buildings, a tasting room, 13,000 square feet of caves, a crush pad and new parking.
Approximately 14 employees would work at the site. An existing home, barn, garage and pool house will be demolished.