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Another redevelopment plan for south Napa's Food City center

Another redevelopment plan for south Napa's Food City center


Tall palm trees and planters filled with leafy shrubs. Outdoor seating, umbrellas, and market lights. A reclaimed breezeway with room for neighbors to gather. New art and hand-painted signs, including a monument-style marker.

Such are just a few of the improvements part of a revamped plan for south Napa’s Food City center at the intersection of Jefferson Street and Old Sonoma Road in south Napa.

Developer Joe Rossi, who took over the project earlier this year, has filed an application with the city for approval of exterior renovations of the shopping center, which is listed as a local landmark on the city's historic resources inventory.

“I love that iconic front building,” said Rossi on Wednesday. “I see the vision” of the remodeled center, he said. The tenants and space will draw families and the neighbors, he predicted.

Take a tour of Napa's Food City, a classic art deco shopping center. Today, the center has a new majority owner with plans for redevelopment.

“It’s all oriented to family and the neighborhood,” said Rossi. “We’re not making a tourist destination. It’s for the neighborhood.”

Rossi said eight storefronts that face the parking lot will be remodeled. From east to west, they include a future restaurant, a future market, Galaxy Smoke Shop, incoming tenant Naysayer Coffee Roasters, Rosemery’s Haircuts, an available space, La Hacienda Taquería, and A&B Market.

The House of Broken Dolly Art Foundation, currently open in part of the former Family Drug building at the center, is a temporary tenant, said Rossi.

The first plans for upgrades to the Food City shopping center were announced shortly after it was sold in 2018.

In May of that year, Brooks Street and partner Michael C. Holcomb bought the south Napa center for $6.8 million from OSR Inc.

“We thought it was a great opportunity,” Scott Goldie, partner at Brooks Street, said at the time. Brooks Street and Noble House Hotels & Resorts co-own the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Goldie and Holcomb then announced a plan that would recast the building’s western portion into a “food hall” with eight tenants facing a common seating area, while bringing a variety of other tenants into the 24,590-square-foot venue. It was viewed as a mini Oxbow Public Market-style complex.

However, the redevelopment did not progress. In March, Brooks Street sold its interest in the property to Rossi, with Holcomb remaining a partner.)

At the time of his investment, Rossi said the original idea to create a destination featuring market stalls, an interior hall, and artisan shops, “was too grandiose of a plan” to pencil out financially. That left the project stuck, he said.

Chris Vecera of Naysayer Coffee Roasters said he’s had his eye on the Food City project for some time.

“We love the neighborhood component of Food City,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a great project … a cool, safe, comfortable, welcoming, fun place to be.”

In addition to coffee, he plans to offer pastries and other food options. Vecera said he hopes to open by the fall.

Naysayer is currently located at the First & Franklin Marketplace in downtown Napa. In addition to the Food City location, “Our coffee will continue to be served (downtown) in some capacity,” he said.

A former breezeway at the Food City center, which was covered over at one point, will be reopened, said Rossi. Seating and other improvements will be installed.

The new storefront elevations will be designed “to reflect the art moderne style of the original building,” which dates to 1952, Rossi wrote.

A new monument sign will be created at the far northwest corner of the lot.

On the Jefferson Street side, the center also includes newer tenant Olde Town Barbershop. Holcomb said Fiona Wendorf Classical Pilates will open at the former Kozmetika spot next door.

“I'm looking forward to being a part of the Food City center,” said Wendorf. Her studio will be called The Pilates Practice and will offer private training sessions and very small group classes, with a projected opening of early July.

A brand design and technology company called Offset Partners recently moved into the second floor, above the art gallery.

For 67 years, Family Drug was a key tenant at the Food City center. However, in 2019, that business closed and family members opened Family Medical, a related business at another location.

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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