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Copia gardens get cleanup: Oxbow Yard poised to take shape

Copia gardens get cleanup: Oxbow Yard poised to take shape

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Gardens at the former Copia campus in Napa are about to become part of a new project called Oxbow Yard. It will include a beer garden, micro-distillery and more. Take a look at the start of the project.

After 13 years of being mostly left to nature, one section of the former Copia south gardens is about to get a whole new look.

Developers have begun initial preparations for a new project called Oxbow Yard. Plans include a beer garden, micro-distillery, gardens, seating and gathering areas and more.

To begin, the site recently underwent a thorough clean-up. Many, many yards of redwood chips were recently spread over portions of the garden area. Overgrowth has been removed.

“We’re trying to remove the years of weeds and get it back to its original luster,” said Perry Clark, a partner in the project. “It’s just a lot of clearing.”

The property is located at 585 First St., next to and behind the South Copia parking lot.

After the original Copia closed in 2008, the Napa Chefs Garden Co-Op took over the front part of the south Copia garden, but the rear part of the Copia garden was mostly left alone.

The north Copia property is now operated by the Culinary Institute of America as the CIA at Copia.

Next steps in the creation of Oxbow Yard include delivery and installation of containers that will become the kitchen, micro-distillery and “bar car” with beer taps.

“That site lends itself to a really special farm-to-table experience,” said Clark.

New gardens will be planted to include fruits and vegetables such as raspberries, blackberries, mint and cucumbers. 

“We really want the gardens to be an active part of the food and cocktail list,” said Clark.

“That was the vision the Mondavis had and we really want to bring that back.” Robert and Margrit Mondavi were the visionaries behind the original Copia project.

In addition, Oxbow Yard will incorporate fixtures carried over from the Copia era, including a pavilion with a stage, fireplace, pizza oven, outdoor kitchen and restrooms

Oxbow Yard is meant to become “an outdoor community garden with a laid-back luxury aesthetic, casual restaurant with beer garden, comfortable lounge seating areas spread throughout the grounds and several multi-purpose event spaces,” said the original application for the project.

The use is temporary, said Clark. In 2018 property owner Wayne O’Connell of Napa announced plans to develop the site into as many as 124 housing units.

In the meantime, for at least three years Oxbow Yard will occupy the space, said Clark.

Oxbow Yard LP includes four partners: Clark of Amizetta Winery in St. Helena, Chris Lehman of Frame Ventures in Marin and San Francisco, and Alan Guy and Richard Leider. Guy and Leider are listed as executives at Anvil Builders of San Francisco.

Clark said the partners hope to open Oxbow Yard by the end of the year.

“We’re working as fast as we can,” he said. “It’s been a long process but it’s worth it.”

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You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 256-2218 or jhuffman@napanews.com

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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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