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Planners approve 23 apartments for Saint James Place project in south Napa

Planners approve 23 apartments for Saint James Place project in south Napa

Saint James Place Apartments, Napa

Napa architect firm Craiker Associates Architects & Planners designed these new apartments planned for South Freeway Drive in Napa. The Saint James Place complex, named for the Monopoly property, gained Planning Commission approval for a design permit on Thursday.

A second attempt at building apartments in southwest Napa — at a site first marked for housing nearly two decades ago — has gained the support of city land-use leaders.

The Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a design permit for the Saint James Place apartments, which would consist of 23 units in two buildings off 685 S. Freeway Drive west of Highway 29. The project, filed with the city by the developer Joe Rossi in August, sailed through the online hearing with no apparent resistance from neighbors or others.

“This looks great. I’m excited for the project; it’s a great in-fill,” said Commissioner Paul Kelley. “You put something together that was really exciting. … this is a great project for the neighborhood.”

Named for one of the Atlantic City streets on the Monopoly game board, Saint James Place is the second housing complex to win city approval on the one-acre site behind the Sciambra-Passini French Bakery since it was subdivided from the bakery property in 2003.

An earlier project, in which the Sciambra bakery agreed to create 23 apartments for its workers in exchange for expanding its building, was passed by the City Council in 2008 but was never built. The project permit lapsed but the rezoning has remained in effect, paving the way for Rossi’s latest effort to bring housing to the site.

Shortly after filing his plans with the city, Rossi told the Napa Valley Register he has a purchase agreement with the Sciambra family that owns the bakery to develop the housing lot upon the city’s approval. The bakery is on a separate parcel and will not be a part of the project.

Eleven one-bedroom apartments and 12 two-bedroom units will be spread across a pair of three-story buildings accompanied by 41 parking spaces, which residents will access from South Freeway Drive through the Sciambra parking lot. The complex also will include 2,900 square feet of indoor common areas.

On Thursday, Rossi’s apartment plan drew none of the opposition faced by the previous project in 2008, when neighbors predicted increased traffic congestion, lower property values and the loss of valley views. The only person to speak up about Saint James Place during the Zoom teleconference praised the plan, asking only for the preservation of a large oak tree to protect his home’s privacy.

All apartments at Saint James Place would be offered at market-rate rents, which Rossi last year estimated would start at $2,000 a month for a one-bedroom unit.

Saint James Place would be Rossi’s second housing development to be named for a Monopoly street, following the 10-unit Park Place on Byway East in north Napa. Rossi also has submitted plans for Marvin Gardens, a group of four houses with “granny flat” accessory dwellings to be built on Tyson Court south of Providence Queen of the Valley Medical Center.


Want to live in downtown Napa? These new homes in the city center range from $779,000 to $1.6 million.


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Public Safety Reporter

Howard Yune covers public safety for the Napa Valley Register. He has been a reporter and photographer for the Register since 2011, and previously wrote for the Marysville Appeal-Democrat, Anaheim Bulletin and Coos Bay (Oregon) World.

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