Shops at Napa

Planning Commission OKs renovation at downtown mall

Search for new tenants under way
2012-11-16T20:12:00Z 2012-11-17T23:44:31Z Planning Commission OKs renovation at downtown mallJENNIFER HUFFMAN Napa Valley Register
November 16, 2012 8:12 pm  • 

The Napa Planning Commission quickly approved proposed renovations of the Shops at Napa Center on Thursday night, clearing the way for developer Todd Zapolski and team to implement their makeover of the downtown mall.

Within just a few moments of the start of the meeting, the commission voted its approval of the mall modifications. No one from the public stepped forward to address the commission, nor did commissioners comment.

Zapolski, who estimates that his investment will total $60 million to $70 million, bought the languishing mall in May from former owner George Altamura and partners.

The mall, formerly known as the Napa Town Center, was built in the mid-1980s. The center once achieved nearly 100 percent occupancy, but over the years retailers left and most tenants were placed on month-to-month leases.

The new ownership is pursuing higher-end tenants. The renovations could begin as early as this spring, said project director Peter Bartlett.

“We’re pleased to be moving forward with this initial phase,” Bartlett said on Friday. “The support we’ve received form the city and community has been really gratifying.”

“All we’re trying to do is improve this center and make it work for the city and tenants and shoppers,” both locals and visitors, Bartlett said.

While the makeover gathers momentum, “hopefully the community continues to support the merchants that are here,” Bartlett said.

According to city documents, improvements at the mall include new paint, lighting, fixtures, furniture, planters, fountains, walkway surfaces and redesigned common areas. New planter boxes, metal shutters and awnings, aluminum trellises and signs are also planned.

The project’s current design “is dated and not well integrated into downtown,” said the Planning Commission staff report.

Each of the buildings will have its own color scheme, with a palette that includes tones of beige, brown and gray.

A raised planter will be built around the mature cork oak tree near the rotunda. New pavers and an artificial turf area with “sculptural acorns” will also be added in the area, the report stated.

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(10) Comments

  1. shantz
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    shantz - November 16, 2012 11:42 am
    That’s all fine and dandy.

    My real concern is all these high end chains Todd wants to impose on Downtown Napa.

    As far as I can tell, his vision for the Town center is one that is not local friendly.
  2. bluecollardoctor
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    bluecollardoctor - November 16, 2012 1:38 pm
    So, the way I see it there are three paths to take for Napa's future.
    1. Do nothing and become like Martinez; boarded up and or low value businesses.
    2. Emulate Vacaville with its chains and big box stores which are certainly great amenities for locals.
    3. Try to be more like Walnut Creek. We already have the restaurants, just need some high end shops.
    I pick #3.
  3. shantz
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    shantz - November 16, 2012 11:21 pm
    Really? Those are your three options?

    How about creating a business climate that accommodates local businesses that can serve local needs?

    Downtown Napa doesn't need big chains or high end stores to be successful. There are plenty of local business owners that can create value for locals and even tourists in our Downtown.
  4. Wineandfood
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    Wineandfood - November 17, 2012 7:49 am
    I pick a mixture of high end chains and mom and pop stores - both will serve locals
  5. glenroy
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    glenroy - November 17, 2012 9:50 am
    It’s all based on the cost of a sqft…the more it costs the more it will cost.
    It’s very difficult for small business to survive in high sqft markets. St Helena, and with each month Calistoga,are entirely dependant on out of town business owners to lease commerical space.
    These liberals who whine about chain stores seem to not realize almost all the high end, and all the super high end restaurants, are owned by out of town investors/corps…as local as Jack in the Box. They get the exact same tax benefits as Jack in the Box too.

    Goes back to Business 101...the government puts more buisnesses out of business than competition due to poor management, which of course equates to spending and planning...Napa should be the the text book example of that.

    Good luck to the Town Center...competing with the Main St has proven to be next to impossible...which is how it was before redevelopment, which put dozens of local businesses out of business so they could create the Town Center.

    Get it?
  6. gettingreal
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    gettingreal - November 17, 2012 11:44 am
    Or you could pick #4

    #4 Leave business alone, free to create what the market wants.

    Imagine that!
  7. reason-ator
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    reason-ator - November 17, 2012 11:50 am
    I'm so surprized that this project was approved so quickly. Probably because there were no artist's egos involved.

    I'm also surprized anybody thinks that the locals are taken into consideration. It's a long time until the next election. The locals will matter then.

    Until the next election season,, it's all about the illu$ion of money. Business as usual, since everybody approved the usual suspects.
  8. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - November 17, 2012 12:16 pm
    Alex, Napa Town Center already has a footprint of chain stores, for example, Kohls. I'm fairly certain chains at this location will be grandfathered in. In other words, if a chain footprint already exists, I'm guessing that you cannot impose chain restrictions in the future.

    That said, I think we should focus on the quality of chains. I wish Todd Zapolski the very best. He is taking a huge risk but it's worth it because this center already has a footprint that allows a lot of flexibility.

    Here are a few suggestions some of which appear as though they are already being implemented: Open air cafe's and a wine bar which are visible from the street. A Pottery Barn. An Oakville Grocery with an open air produce section and cafe seating. A Cowgirl Creamery located on the other side of the Center from Oakville Grocery. Only allow two deli style restaurants in the Center. Keep the Ben and Jerry's. A few artistic shops. A Fire and Ice Restaurant with outdoor firepits. No Target stores please.
  9. vocal-de-local
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    vocal-de-local - November 17, 2012 12:33 pm
    The big question is what to do with the two large buildings on both sides of the Center - Kohl's and McCaulou's (the Santa Rosa McCaulou's closed down which may indicate a trend). Napa is already saturated with hotels and personally, I do not think adding more hotels is a good idea. However, the zoning at this location might allow it.

    One idea for Todd to consider would be to use one of the buildings as a rock climbing wall such as this:

    Some of the rest of the space in the same building could be used as a brewery such as the Yardhouse which doubles as a sports bar and stays open till 2:00, for those who want a nightlife. Also, an outdoor stage for summer concerts would be nice.

    And as much as I dislike big corporate chains, one which would do really well in this location and draw locals downtown would be a Best Buy.
  10. cowboyswife
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    cowboyswife - November 17, 2012 1:15 pm
    Sorry Shantz, Napa has tried that plan over & over. It's time for Napa to get on the map and make a name for itself as a retail community for Locals & Tourist! We are going Bigger & Better which is good for all Napans!
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