Napa County has found nine potential bidders interested in transforming and running Lake Berryessa resorts that could have such features as camp sites, hotels, restaurants, glamping sites and marinas.
The county is keeping their identities secret for now. Deputy County Executive Officer Molly Rattigan said proposals came from local businesses and from operators with national experience.
“They are promising proposals,” she said on Friday.
Napa County is weighing whether to spearhead the Lake Berryessa resort redevelopment effort. Over the past decade, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has failed to redevelop five of the seven resorts on federal land and wants the county’s help.
As an initial step, the county circulated a brochure among the resort development community to see if anyone is interested in Lake Berryessa. Proposals were due last Wednesday. Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza said he likes the response.
“It’s another benchmark we’ve met with exciting news,” Pedroza said on Friday. “We have work ahead of us.”
The next step is for the county and Bureau of Reclamation to reach an agreement that would cement their redevelopment partnership. Rattigan said a proposed agreement could come before the county Board of Supervisors this spring.
If all goes as planned, the county would then ask the nine potential bidders to submit official bids. The Board of Supervisors could choose resort operators by year’s end.
The five resorts are Putah Canyon, Monticello Shores, Berryessa Point, Spanish Flat and Steele Canyon. A question mark has been whether all will be redeveloped. Parties responding to the county’s search for potential bidders could choose any number of the five.
“All five of the undeveloped resorts are still in play,” Rattigan said. “We have not ruled out any resort. However, I think it would be fair to say the resort areas at Spanish Flat, Monticello Shores and Steele Canyon have the most interest.”
Lake Berryessa reservoir was created in the late 1950s in eastern Napa County when the Bureau of Reclamation built Monticello Dam. The seven resorts were developed over the next few years by private concessionaires with contracts to use the federal land.
When concessionaire contracts began expiring around 2008, the Bureau of Reclamation pursued a different look at the resorts. It removed hundreds of mobile homes and stripped five of the resorts of such features as marinas so redevelopment could begin virtually from scratch.
But the redevelopment effort stalled at the five resorts. Three are now run in stripped-down fashion on an interim basis offering such things as camp sites and boat ramps. Two are closed.
County officials have said the county is bound by fewer regulations than the Bureau of Reclamation and can be more aggressive in seeking potential resort operators.
In 2016, the county began looking at whether it wants to partner with the Bureau of Reclamation on the redevelopment effort. In the next few months, the Board of Supervisors could deliver its answer.