Borreo Building

The Borreo Building at Third Street and Soscol Avenue will be redeveloped for a restaurant.

The potential sale of the historic downtown Borreo building is progressing, albeit at a slow pace.

The city of Napa extended its exclusive negotiating agreement with local developer West Pueblo Partners last week, after having already spent 120 days working out the details without completing the transaction.

“We have drafted an (agreement) that’s currently being reviewed,” Jennifer LaLiberte, the city’s economic development manager, said at last week’s council meeting. The city has requested “that the negotiating period be extended to July 22,” she said.

In January, the City Council approved an initial 60-day exclusive negotiating contract for the sale of the 127-year-old building at Soscol and Third streets with West Pueblo Partners — a development group that includes investors Michael L. Holcomb and his son Michael C. Holcomb, local land attorney Kevin Teague, Michael Lehn and John F. Nichols.

The city and West Pueblo first required a 60-day extension, which expired Friday, but asked for additional time to agree on building design and project phasing.

“Things are going really well,” Michael L. Holcomb said last week. “The city is just being cautious about what the use in the building will be going forward.”

Prior to working with West Pueblo Partners, the city entered into an exclusive negotiating contract in 2012 with the Land Trust of Napa County, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving land. The organization had offered $850,000 to purchase the 9,600-square-foot building and planned to use it for the trust’s offices and a wine tasting room.

But after West Pueblo got wind of the transaction, Holcomb publicly chastised the City Council for what he said was a “sweetheart deal.” When the Land Trust failed to close the sale after more than a year of bargaining, the city began negotiating with the West Pueblo group with a planned sale price of $1.9 million.

Holcomb has previously stated that his company had its eye on bringing local brewery Napa Point Brewing into the Borreo building — once his group purchases, upgrades and remodels the rundown landmark. But last week he said West Pueblo hasn’t decided who will occupy the highly sought-after space.

“Most of the time, I buy buildings and can do what I want with them, but this is different — this is a Napa icon,” he said. “It’s a jewel of downtown Napa and we want to make sure we have the right tenants in there.”

Holcomb said his partners still plan to sink another $4 million into the building in remodeling and restoration projects, and added that whichever tenants were chosen would be worthy of such an iconic Napa space.

“We’re going to make it beautiful and we’re going to be certain that whomever is in there will do right by the city,” he said.

Currently, staff is working out the final details of the agreement with West Pueblo Partners. The final contract will most likely be brought back before the City Council on July 22, after the council’s summer vacation.

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