Wearing Archer brand slippers and baseball caps, a group of business and community representatives officially opened the Archer Napa hotel in downtown Napa on Monday morning.

Removing their shoes, the ribbon-cutting team gamely stepped into the slippers at the start of the symbolic ceremony, held at the entry of the hotel at 1230 First St.

“We have waited a very long time to open,” said Michael Collins, general manager of the luxury boutique hotel. “It’s been a passion project that even Mother Nature (and) earthquakes, rain and fire” did not deter.

A crowd of downtown merchants, Chamber of Commerce members and others gathered at the site at 10 a.m. for the ceremony.

The group included Mayor Jill Techel, Clay Gregory of Visit Napa Valley, Travis Stanley of the Napa Chamber, Craig Smith of the Downtown Napa Association, developer Todd Zapolski and Collins.

LodgeWorks Partners, L.P., is the owner and developer of Archer Napa. LodgeWorks previously developed the Avia Napa hotel, now called Andaz, just up First Street. Andaz Napa is now owned by a different company.

“This is a real milestone,” said Techel. “It’s great to get the scaffolding down and connect First Street.” For a year and a half, the sidewalk in front of the hotel had been closed.

“It’s been a long road,” said Archer Napa Director of Engineering Jeff Roberts. “We appreciate everyone’s patience, and we’re ready to go.”

“This is the dawn of a new era,” said Napa developer Jeff Doran.

“My gosh, look at this,” he said of the hotel’s interior. “It’s exceeded everyone’s expectations.”

“It’s just amazing. I’m extremely impressed,” said Bob Johnstone, former chamber board member and Napa businessman.

“You walk in and you think you’re in New York,” he said. “They did a great job.”

While Johnston admired the hotel, he said it did make him wonder, “How many hotels does downtown need? I hope we’re not overdoing it.”

Zapolski described his reaction to the hotel opening in two words: “Oh boy.”

“We knew this would be a game changer in downtown,” he said.

With Archer Napa now open, “It gives us great momentum” at his First Street Napa project, he said.

Retail and other prospects for his part of the project can now see the development coming to life, he said.

“This is real,” said Zapolski.

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The hotel and Charlie Palmer Steak Napa, located inside the hotel, are open for business, but not every Archer Napa amenity is up and running yet.

As of Monday, a total of 131 rooms out of 183 are available. The fifth-floor hotel rooms should be complete by early January, said Collins.

The rooftop area is still under construction, he said. That will include a pool, fitness studio, spa and other amenities. That space should open by early February, he said.

Retail stores under the hotel has yet to open. One tenant, the Maris Collective retail shop, has announced that it will be a tenant.

Compline Wine Bar, Restaurant & Merchant also opened near the north side of the hotel in the former Gillwoods space.

After the ribbon cutting, as Collins removed his slippers and put his work shoes back on, the GM noted that he’s been a part of several other hotel openings such as a 3,000-room hotel called the Palazzo in Las Vegas.

However, “this was a lot more work,” said. Creating the Napa Archer was like building a custom-built home, Collins said. But, “We finally made it.”

The first Archer Napa guests, who will occupy four rooms, arrived Monday, said Collins. A special surprise has been left in the rooms for those inaugural visitors, said Collins, who wouldn’t reveal what the surprise was.

Collins said room rates on Monday night started at $349.

In 2014, the developers estimated the cost of the project at $70 million.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.