One of the most distinctive flourishes of the Archer Napa, the city’s newest and tallest building, has land-use planners’ stamp of approval.
The Planning Commission on Thursday signed off on a pair of vertical marquees facing east and west that will spell out “ARCHER HOTEL” in lighted, 2-foot-tall letters of white-painted aluminum, near the southwest corner of the six-story, 183-room hotel going up on downtown First Street.
The top-down signage – each letter column will be up to 36 2/3 feet tall, spanning three upper floors – will be the largest advertisement on the skin of the Archer, a $70 million project being developed by LodgeWorks Partners LP of Wichita, Kansas.
Built on the site of the former Merrill’s drugstore, the Archer, which is scheduled to open at midyear, is an eclectic but mainly modernist exercise in metal, glass and stone – including the corner tower facing the Randolph Street crossing, where the marquee will be mounted – although the structure also incorporates part of the Merrill’s columned terracotta façade along First Street.
Six smaller, rectangular signs will identify shops that will fill the Archer’s ground floor, with a maximum 12-inch letter height, according to plans filed with the city. Four of the storefronts will face west, away from First and toward the former Napa Town Center, which is being redeveloped into the First Street Napa pedestrian mall.
Planners on Thursday also approved designs for the Archer’s food and beverage services, including a rooftop lounge equipped with beer-making equipment producing five barrels per batch. The brewing equipment, which would use liquid malt extract instead of the raw grain and hops used by conventional breweries, qualifies LodgeWorks for a Type 75 license, which the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control grants to eateries making their own beer to allow them to serve liquor as well.
Charlie Palmer Steak, the Archer’s main restaurant, will be on the hotel’s ground floor along with its bar, city plans indicate. The permit will allow the steakhouse, bar and rooftop lounge to stay open nightly until the 2 a.m. closing time set by California law, although “it is likely that the bar/lounge areas will not remain open this late every day,” Associate Planner Michael Allen wrote in a memorandum to planners. No alcohol will be served after 1:30 a.m.
At 65 feet, the Archer Hotel is Napa’s tallest structure, exceeding the Andaz hotel farther west on First.
The Archer will enter a downtown hotel scene that appears primed for more growth and competition. In March, the local developer James Keller struck a $2 million deal to buy the earthquake-damaged Second Street post office, a 1930s Art Deco landmark, for conversion into an 80-room hotel.
Other lodging projects floated for central Napa include a four-story mixed-use complex in the Oxbow District with 27 rooms, and a 74-room inn with condominiums that would be built across the street. In addition, a multistory hotel on part of the Napa City Hall property is one element of the city’s plan to build a new headquarters. The hotel is a way to generate room taxes to help cover construction costs.