The deadline to submit proposals to purchase and redevelop the historic Borreo building came and went last week with a handful of groups, including a brewery, submitting offers.

Economic Development Manager Jennifer LaLiberté said the city received five proposals by Wednesday’s deadline. While she could not say who submitted proposals or the nature of the offers, she did say all were of “very strong quality.” She said everyone who submitted an offer appeared, as of Friday, to be “qualified and capable.”

Downtown property owner Michael L. Holcomb said he submitted one of the five proposals. He said he would like to bring Napa Point Brewing, which has a new facility on Devlin Road, to the 1887 riverfront building at Third Street and Soscol Avenue.

“We have to ensure the building is vibrant and is for locals,” Holcomb said.

The city, which has owned the building since 1975, decided in 2011 to sell it and issued a request for proposals. At the time, four groups submitted proposals, but only two were considered realistic. One of the two, an offer by Paul Teutul Jr., owner of Paul Jr. Designs and star of the Discovery Channel’s reality show “American Chopper,” was withdrawn by the applicant almost immediately.

The City Council began negotiating with the remaining hopeful buyer, the Land Trust of Napa County. The nonprofit had planned to put its offices upstairs and lease the lower floor. Ultimately, it partnered with Huneeus Vintners, which planned to put a tasting room in the lower level.

After nearly a year of negotiations between the city and the Land Trust, a deal had not been reached and Holcomb submitted an offer to buy the structure for $1.6 million — twice the amount the city was considering from the Land Trust —  and move in a high-end steak house. The move led the city to increase the asking price for the building, and the Land Trust, unable or unwilling to pay the higher amount, withdrew its offer in the summer.

The city restarted the property disposition process last summer and saw greater interest, possibly because of the improved economy.

Napa Point CEO and founder Robert Dahl said he had signed a letter of intent with the Land Trust to have the brewery in the lower floor, but the nonprofit ended the relationship when it was approached by Huneeus.

After reading that the building was again on the market and reading newspaper quotes from Holcomb speaking about his desire for a vibrant tenant there, Dahl contacted him and the two formed the relationship that led them to submit an offer together.

Dahl and Holcomb said that the Borreo building “screams brewery” with its stone facade and that Napa Point has a brew to highlight its “Old World charm.”

“We created a brand, Cask & Stone,” Dahl said. “It’s a beer brand under the flagship Napa Point that is hopefully going in the Borreo building someday.”

If chosen to purchase and redevelop the property, Napa Point would brew at the site and offer beer and food. It would keep its south Napa location, which opened a few weeks ago.

The city has made clear it is looking for a group that has the means to redevelop the long-vacant building in a timely manner and move in a tenant that adds to the growing energy of downtown Napa.

LaLiberté said the next steps are for the council to review the proposals in closed session. Because of the quality of the proposals, LaLiberté said it may take some time because the city needs to do its due diligence.

“These proposers put a lot of time into these proposals,” she said.

According to the schedule included in the request for proposals, which is subject to change, the city hopes to choose a proposal in December and begin negotiating exclusively with that party.

(34) comments


Penn Girl, you're smart. I hope it rubs off on our local leaders. Sometimes a couple of them get caught up in the wine shrine hype (maybe as shallow was hoping to be invited to party to rub elbows). I have faith with all this positive posting that we are in for a brew pub with character. Come on up the locals will by the first round!

Takehikes, I like your river vision but let's support the positive momentum we have today, and someday those that are rocking and rolling in our Napa City core can champion the river cause. Seriously, great long term vision--see you at opening night!


I agree with the many comments above that a brewery/pub would be a perfect fit for the Borrero building. It would be a spot appealing to both locals and tourists. The location and setting is ideal.

I know Mr. Holcomb only from his philanthropic work, but I understand his vision for making downtown Napa a vibrant destination for locals and tourists. I would urge the city to move forward on this.


Kudos to Mr. Holcomb for agreeing to total transparency. That's what the people are asking for and it's nice to see that he shows character and integrity on this issue. As a fourth generation Californian, I think it is increasingly important that we continue to restore and "intelligently" revitalize our cities. The Borreo Building is a lovely structure that deserves the best care with preservation. Over saturation of this area with another wine tasting room, seems a bad move. Any business person worth their salt would tell you to select businesses that, wherever and whenever, do not conflict with one another. The locals will not frequent yet another tasting room. But a new business with new food and beverage choices will not only attract locals, but visitors to the area. Isn't that what our area needs. New traffic flow of customers to stimulate all of our business? And isn't preservation of our beautiful valley and it's surroundings what we all want? Yes, it is!


Since its too late to shove over the Borrero I suppose this is the best use for the building but really who cares? The heart and soul of this city has been torn out and soaked in wine bought and paid for by tourists. Nothing against Napa Point trying to make a go of it, probably be very successful at that location.
I remain astounded that a city with a river still hasn't figure out how to use it....we should have a trail along the side of it the length of the that would be of value to the citizens. Whoops, can't bring those pesky citizens in to it, shoo, go away.


Even though one commenter sneared, we do have Downtown Joe's which is a brew pub--they make their own brewskis.


I'm not quite sure where this panic over a lack of transparency is coming from. The City had a site up with all the information for the RFPO (it's since been taken down since the deadline has passed, but you can still bring up the page from Google's cache). There has been no mention of the other applicants most likely so they can evaluate the applications and make sure they all fit the guidelines...and that will take a while (we're talking about the City, y'know).

If a decision is made without public input...well...that's the way a democratic republic is run, with elected and appointed officials making decisions so people aren't going to the ballot box every two weeks to approve relatively minor issues.

If you don't like it, run for City Council or put in to work at the City's Economic Development agency. Sometimes decisions just need to be made, right or wrong, without dozens of useless "town hall meetings" just so every "concerned citizen" can hear themselves talk.

Peninsula Girl

I agree with (My Napa Life). The last thing Napa needs is another "Wine Shrine" to feed the ego of a billionaire. Napa is a real town with real people living and working here. Let's embrace it rather than try to compete with the wine centric upvalley. Let's let them fight over the already saturated market for upscale tourist dollars. Here's to a truly vibrant downtown, not a tasting room that pulls the shades down at 6 pm.


A brewery with a pub would be cool in this spot. A place with arcade games, dart boards, pool tables, and a stage for a band to play would be cool in this spot. Hopefully this can be a play you can take your family to have fun.


Wow…another wine tasting room. Really, Napa? This is the best you can do in making use of a fabulous, mix-used site and “move in a tenant that adds to the growing energy of downtown Napa”? You say you want to ensure the building is vibrant and for the locals. I don’t believe another tasting room is going to bring the locals in. Visitors, yes. Residents, I doubt. How many tasting rooms are enough? Even the Napa Valley Register asked that question just last month. Personally, I’d like nothing more than to see someone as capable and experienced as Michael Holcomb come in and truly transform the Borreo Building into the thriving space it deserves to become. There is no question that Napa Point Brewing will add to the growing energy of downtown Napa! It’s time to wake up and help create something we all can be proud of…a downtown that is truly special and diverse. Shame on all of us if we lose this opportunity.


I would love to see this historic building home to Napa Point brewery.


Mike Holcomb has been iconic in the community and his universal association and loyalty to the area, is well established by now. Additionally, the area is already saturated with Wineries, Tasting Rooms etc, that serve the tourism industry. A Brewery, however, would be more about serving the community and the citizens of this fine community and also take advantage of it's rich history by transforming the historic building to be woven into the fabric of the community and serve it and it's citizenry.


What an opportunity! A brewery would be a huge asset to Napa, especially in this location. It seems like the obvious choice, given the upward trend of craft beer and the lack of breweries/tasting rooms in the area. And the space/location is ideal.
It would be beneficial to us, the people, to have more info. How about a follow up article about the bidding process, progress being made, the decision making. etc.. with more transparency?
Well done, Michael Holcomb, for working hard to make this happen. I am hopeful to see the brewery come to town for locals and tourists, alike.


I'm all for a great brewery/pub downtown. We have been to Napa Point's South Napa location twice, and both times we were highly impressed with their beer and food. I echo the Bravos and Cheers! What a great place to be able to go to without getting on a highway!


Great news for Downtown Napa. This building has been screaming out for a brewery / restaurant for years and if the ambitions of the the Napa Point folks are realized they will do a top class job. The craft beer industry in America is exploding right now and the addition of this in our downtown area would attract new visitors to our town and valley who may never have had Napa on their map previously. Cheers to Napa Point Brewing!

Downtown Jane

After reading the 2013 report that the Sonoma County Economical Development Board released about local craft beverages and the positive impact on their economy (estimated $123,000,000 in 2012), this should be a no brainier. Jobs for locals, tourists to spend money in our city and county, taxes for local revenue...a great way to honor such a prized link to our history and culture. Bravo to two motivated businessmen who have come together to make a beautiful building light up with promise.


No one loves our Napa more than me. I'm excited to see it as it matures, space created calling out to those who call it home while both generating necessary public funds and maintaining our City's character.

My family and friends pray for a rustic restaurant or unique pub, not a misplaced Disneyland wine Shrine. Not to worry, there already are a hundred of the latter saturating wine centric up-valley not far away.

Instead, create retail that draws in both working class locals and travelers. Yes, mingling with one another and putting more dollars in our city coffers!


I agree it should be transparent. I believe all should be out in the open for discussion.

As not seeing the proposals, being selfish, I would approve of the brewery as we have millions of wine tasting outlets down town with only one so called brewery. I believe Napa Point Brewing would be an amazing addition to downtown and the building will attract many to this location. Robert Dahl and his team have created jobs and revenues and would keep adding to the economy of Napa. I would suggest it is time for a true brew pub in downtown Napa.


If Napa's going to remain relevant in an increasingly competitive global tourism industry, it will need to continue to shed its sleepy infrastructure of previous decades. Holcomb is one of few local developers who understands the current landscape of economic development. His First/Main projects have revitalized a downtown that was clinging to life support and this would be another step in the right direction. It would provide much needed local revenue to invest in areas of education and public safety, among others. I see something promising brewin' here...


I do not think the NVR will have to go to the CPR Act because the council will probably give us (citizens of Napa) the information they received from the potential bidders(?) on the property because of what happened with the NVL Trust. It seems to me the council we have now are looking deeper into all facets of the local issues and even into the officials under them in the city. Reading the NVR and watching council meetings on local channel gives me the impression that they have opened their eyes (& ears) to local wants. I also feel that they are aware that we are watching and not sitting on our hands anymore. I agree with selling the building for a brewery/restaurant, but not only should the selling price be significant but the tax revenue must be promising. And based on Mr Holcomb's previous statements when he first approached the city asking why the building is going so cheap with hardly any revenue to the city, I would assume he has this covered so hopefully he is the high bidder!


Right publiusa - and because you're such the expert that you run for City Council, care enough to be Muriel and show up at every meeting, volunteer for boards and commissions and non-profits in general and generally actually try to do something to fight for the things you believe in and care about and don't just complain about it all here...


I have the right to express my opinion. And my opinion is that the city staff and managers are incompetent and should be fired because of the mismanagement of this property and others. But, it will never happen because they are government employees and the taxpayers will pay the bill because the city staff unions control the council.


After reading the article this morning I went to visit Napa Point in the South Napa and I must say, it is really well done. The service was excellent, the food was great, and the beer was amazing. I believe that another Brewery use in Downtown Napa would be great for the direction Napa is headed and the Borreo Building would be a great place for it. I also would be curious to see what other offers were presented as apart of this process.


A local brewery would be a wonderful addition to downtown Napa. More specifically, to be in that location seems a great match. It would be a reason to walk across the Third St bridge to get to the East side businesses of the river for tourists and locals already downtown. On the other hand, visitors on their way to the Valley that make a point of stopping at the Borreo Bldg Brewery, would be drawn across the river at the sight of the revitalized Downtown to get a closer look. It would become a landmark on Soscol for years to come that you have reached Downtown. One of our must see places to visit when we get the rare opportunity to travel to Hawaii is the Kona Brewery in downtown Kailua Kona. Like Kona, I believe that Napa's own brewery would become a destination for residents around the Valley and definitely for tourists. It fills the earlier description of the need for the new tenant to provide something that's "Vibrant for locals".


City actions not withstanding, I would like to think that redevelopment of the property is in the best interest of Napa residents. I am in favor of a brewery and steakhouse at the site and I believe this use of the property will help diversify the entertainment options in downtown.


I agree with the transparency, so lets get out in the open. It will all be released over time anyway.

Who Bid? How Much? What is the use?
All objective facts all could be disclosed in the Napa Register tomorrow.
Then the Staff can make their recommendations on whatever else is important. The City Council can discuss in open or closed session and can explain why they come to that decision at the following Council Meeting.
We have a very good City Staff and City Council so give them a chance to do the job we elected them to do. We are all OK here, this is much different that the last time.
Michael Holcomb


The mismanagement of the ownership, the waste of $Millions fixing it and now the comedy act trying to sell it is a tragic portrayal of incompetent city staff and managers in a backwater town. The cost of the loss of property taxes for 35 years, the millions in fixing and now, the untold payroll to incompetent city staff is shocking. This town is clueless.


Do you want to live somewhere else?


No, I want the crooks in city hall to leave town.


I generally agree with the comments above. Please, Council, make the review process
open and transparent, including getting specific information about intended use from each of the bidders! Let 's get a use which benefits all of Napa and the Valley.


OALA, I agree with you and likewise respect Mr. Holcomb for all the reasons you mention. My concern is one of transparency, or lack thereof, in the process of selling a publically owned landmark. I'm not at all comfortable that the public would ever know what the "whole package" is for the various proposals concerning the Borreo Building. Some of the collateral damage from Bottlerock is the loss of my naivete that the City Council, or at least certain members, wouldn't be ethically challenged behind close doors. Maybe the NVR will have to once again resort to the CA Public Records Act (hint, hint).


I understand what OTN and CCK is saying but after the previous mess with the land trust (cheap price and no significant tax income to the city coffers) I would hope the council looks at the whole package before a decision. I might be in the minority but to have another wine tasting location is probably not needed. From what I have read previously, the building would have gone to the LT for way less money until Mr Holcomb looked into the transaction and started asking questions. I have met and seen him down town most mornings picking up trash around Main, second and first streets, he is very vibrant himself about downtown napa. I would imagine a brewery/restaurant would bring great tax revenue to the city (to be spent thruout the city)
As a long time napa resident, it has been refreshing to go/drive downtown and see people walking/ shopping and I assume spending money. Mr Holcomb and brewery are local, (besides great revenue to city?) I hope the city makes the right choice this time!!

Old Time Napkin

CCK, I agree. I was ROLFL when I see the Redevelopment Co-Ordinator has been renamed the Economic Development Co-Ordinator. A rose by any other name is still a rose. We (tapayers) better be getting market value for this property.


I find it repugnant that we mere citizens can't be informed what the proposals are for this publically owned building that has been expensively retrofitted with tax dollars. This should be a transparent process from beginning to end. I would have thought the stink of Bottlerock with all its behind the scene shenanigans would have taught appointed officials a lesson about including, not excluding, the ultimate owners of the Borreo building, the public. I'm not one of these anti-government Tea Party-types, but I gotta tell you, I find an elitist mentality in local government and simply put, just don't trust them. Let the sun shine in.


Careful there Crosscountrykid ... your Libertarian beliefs are showing. When referring to government you say "I just don't trust them". You echo exactly what the TEA Party expouses... which is not a bad or "extreme" thing. TEA Party simply means Taxed Enough Already. They are not extremists or radicals like the liberal media enjoys painting them. Just regular Americans tired of government stupidity.

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