Napa’s largest apartment complex is a step closer to becoming whole.
Developers of The Braydon complex on Thursday won the Planning Commission’s support to add a second, 218-unit phase to the rental development, where the first 282 apartments were recently completed. The 5-0 vote by the city’s land-use authority recommends that the City Council grant Fairfield Residential a permit to complete the project and create 500 units on the 20-acre site, which is sandwiched between the auto showrooms of Soscol Avenue and the Napa River to the west.
Construction of The Braydon’s Phase II could start as soon as next spring and last for up to 20 months, Fairfield said in February.
The endorsement of The Braydon’s 8-acre second phase came as the applicant Fairfield Residential announced it has leased about 73 percent of the original project, which Napa approved in 2016.
“Not only do we have housing, we’re building a community that people are enjoying,” Commissioner Beth Painter said of the planned expansion. “It really seems we’re building in a different way that creates a community.”
Plans filed by Fairfield Residential, which bought the project in 2017 from BLT Enterprises, call for the second phase to feature a pair of four-story buildings and three more buildings of three floors each. Apartments will contain one, two or three bedrooms and range from 675 to 1,431 square feet. Parking will take the form of one-car garages, carports and uncovered spaces.
The Braydon expansion also will add a range of amenities such as a clubhouse, fitness center, dog park, open space, and courtyards with grills and seating.
On Thursday, the project sailed through an hour-long review by planners, largely unchanged from plans the agency had studied in May. One of the few visible changes to the design was a new color palette that adds dark burgundy and subtracts darker brown shades, an adjustment planners said would increase contrast and avoid drab-looking exteriors.
Future plans for The Braydon’s second phase include a pair of murals to adorn the west-facing walls of two apartment buildings, facing toward the river, Fairfield Residential’s representative Shon Finch told the commission. The artworks are to be added by the developer’s own choice, since Napa’s city ordinance requiring publicly viewable art for large-scale construction applies only to commercial developments, not residential ones.
One feature of the apartment complex will remain on the drawing board for the time being – a pedestrian and bicycle trail connection that would link The Braydon to the Napa Valley Vine Trail, according to city senior planner Michael Allen. That connection would be built and paid for by the city, which has not yet reserved funds for it.
Apartment search websites list starting rents at the market-rate Braydon at just over $2,400 a month. To satisfy Napa’s affordable housing requirement, Fairfield earlier paid the city $2 million earmarked for income-restricted housing elsewhere.
The Braydon is the latest project to arise on lands south of downtown Napa that were long owned by the Gasser Foundation, which also was the housing complex’s earliest owner. Other developments on Gasser properties over the past quarter century have included the South Napa Marketplace, the South Napa Shelter, Hartle Court Apartments and the South Napa Century Center, a dining, retail and movie-theater complex.
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