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Young Building gets total makeover

Former law offices at Third and Coombs could become stores, restaurant

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Napa’s Young Building is a bit of a mystery to its new owner, Realtor Jim Keller.

Located at Third and Coombs streets, the corner building was owned for about 40 years by the Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty law firm, which called it home. Before that, Keller’s not so sure.

He heard something about a long-ago auto dealership. A restaurant called the Blue Plate Diner occupied part of the space in the late ’80s. Built sometime around 1920, the building’s namesake is also an unknown, he said.

That hasn’t stopped Keller from taking on a million-dollar renovation and remodel of the two-story brick building.

Keller and family members, who also co-own Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley, bought the 25,000-square-foot property this past October for $3.1 million, he said. Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty has since relocated to Napa Square on First Street.

The group plans to put another $1 million to $2 million into gutting and improving the first floor and renovating the second, Keller said.

Instead of just offices, the property will feature retail and restaurant uses on the ground floor and office space on the second.

“We want to create some retail synergy for the area and the corner,” Keller said. As a third-generation Napan, “I feel an obligation” to make a contribution to the downtown core, he said. “This sort of opportunity doesn’t come up very often.”

Construction has been underway for several months. Old exterior awnings have been removed and the tan brick painted a light cream color for a “cleaner more contemporary look.” Keller said he plans to create a more welcoming corner entrance for proposed retail and restaurant customers.

A 5,738-square-foot space on the ground floor would be ideal for a kitchen operation or prominent retail tenant, said Keller. “I’d like to have a nice, vibrant restaurant here,” he said.

The downstairs once included a staircase in the middle. That’s been removed. Three layers of false ceilings were also demolished, exposing the original pressed tin roof. Brick walls — along with seismic retrofitting — have also been exposed.

“This could be a good place for a bar,” he said, gesturing toward the aged brick patina in one corner.

In addition to other office and retail spaces, approximately 7,000 square feet is available on the second floor, said Keller.

One tenant has already been announced. The Dailey Method Barre Studio has leased 2,343 square feet on the ground floor, he said. The workout studio is set to open in the coming weeks, he said.

The whole project should be completed in the next 12 to 18 months. By then, “this place should be filled up and running smooth,” Keller said.

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