Editor’s note: Rodney Friedrich read this statement to the St. Helena City Council on March 14.
City Council and Mayor,
The Vineland Station hotel project of 78 rooms (keys) along with several other use permits were approved under a 10-year development agreement recorded in the Napa County Records (office) in July 2012.
At the time of approval of the Vineland Station project, not only was the city in desperate need of looking for financial resources, but the entire country was in a financial turmoil and at that point in time it was not possible to obtain financing for the project and hence a delay in moving forward with the hotel project.
Today, financing is still difficult for small hotel projects, but more available than when the Vineland Station project was originally approved.
I want to make it clear that we are moving ahead with the entire project at this point and looking for a hotel operator that will not only be successful, but also a good fit for this city. Most operators are looking for at least 100+/- rooms. Our 78 keys with a full 130-car underground parking facility make this a high construction cost project, which limits the number of operators and financiers willing to take on this project.
The value of St. Helena and its location with what is recognized as one of the premier wine regions in the world allows us to continue to have discussions with a handful of operators and financial partners that are interested, and whom we believe have the ability, to be successful in the St. Helena market.
The Vineland Station hotel project is an approved project and we are continuing to move forward with the development of this project and the related building and use permit approvals.
The Vineland Station hotel, when completed, will provide a substantial financial benefit to the city from TOT (transient occupancy taxes) as well as generate benefits to the businesses in St. Helena.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide you a quick update on the Vineland Station hotel project.
General Partner, Vineland Station LP