Dozens of people descend on the north side of the growing Meritage Resort and Spa each day, but these aren’t suitcase-carrying travelers. They’re the workers and tradespeople building a major expansion of the south Napa resort.

Today’s project workforce of 20 to 60 workers will grow to as many as 200 before the five new structures debut in 2018 as Meritage Commons, said project manager Tim Coon with Pacific Hospitality Group.

“What we are creating here in Napa is truly something special,” said Kory Kramer, chief investment officer of Pacific Hospitality Group. Irvine-based Pacific Hospitality Group developed and manages the resort.

The workers are constructing 145 new guest rooms and suites, a wine tasting “village,” boutique market, demonstration kitchen, expansive event lawn and outdoor pool.

The artificial turf lawn will be approximately 9,450 square feet and include outdoor fireplaces and a water feature. Weddings, concerts, wine tastings, food events and team-building events could take place on the lawn, according to the hotel’s application with the city.

The work on the 9.3-acre vacant parcel across Bordeaux Way from the hotel began last April, said Coon. Even with delays from wet weather, the project is still on track to be completed on time, he said.

Meritage Resort already has 322 rooms, plus access to 180 timeshares at the adjacent Vino Bello Resort. The resort has expanded several times since it debuted with 100 hotel rooms and 100 extended-stay rooms in 2006.

A $40 million addition in 2012 added 165 rooms, a bowling alley and large ballroom.

As of this week, all concrete footings, columns and sheer walls for Meritage Commons are complete and “we are working on the slabs and the podium deck” — the raised concrete base that the stories are built upon, Coon said.

Working onsite were a concrete contractor, an underground contractor making storm drains and sewers, a steel contractor and carpenters building the forms to support the concrete pours.

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In addition, mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors are installing all of the conduits and utilities under the slab. The crews work five days a week and occasionally on Saturdays.

“They are doing a fantastic job,” said Coon.

The Meritage Resort “is already a special facility,” said Coon, but creating these new spaces and amenities “is just going to add to what we already have here.”

When asked about landscaping in particular, Coon described “an extensive landscaping plan that will really make everything pop.” For example, 300 trees including olive and oak trees will be planted at the site.

“Every day is a lot of activity and a lot of movement,” said Coon. “It’s just a great team. We’re having a great time here.”

The Meritage is located on the south end of Napa Valley Common multi-use park, beneath the Grape Crusher statue visible from Highway 29.

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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.