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 Designs and star of the Discovery Channel’s reality show “American Chopper,” was withdrawn by the applicant almost immediately.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.