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Napa council approves 218 more apartments at The Braydon complex

Napa council approves 218 more apartments at The Braydon complex

The Braydon apartments, Phase II

The Napa City Council has approved plans by Fairfield Residential to build a second phase of The Braydon apartment complex, adding 218 units to the 282 recently completed apartments west of Soscol Avenue.

Napa’s largest apartment complex of recent times will become larger still.

The Braydon project on Tuesday gained the City Council’s green light to add 218 apartments to the original 282 units completed this summer, clearing the way for owner Fairfield Residential to build out the 20-acre rental complex to its full 500-unit capacity.

Construction of the second phase, which will occupy 8 acres west of Soscol Avenue, may start next spring and continue for up to 20 months, the developer announced earlier this year.

The council’s unanimous approval of the expanded Braydon largely completes the development of the south Napa lands long owned by the Gasser Foundation, which since the 1990s has gradually guided the development of its holdings south of downtown and east of the Napa River with shopping centers, a movie theater, a homeless shelter and a new clinic for Ole Health, as well as housing.

Like The Braydon’s first phase that was completed in August, the expansion will consist of multi-story buildings containing apartments with one, two or three bedrooms. Two new apartment buildings will be four stories high and be joined by a trio of three-story structures, along with single-car garages, carports and uncovered parking spaces.

A host of amenities will be included in the Braydon addition, including a clubhouse, fitness center, dog park, courtyards and open spaces. Those fixtures will be available to current tenants in the original complex as well as future renters, Brendan Hayes, senior vice president at Fairfield Residential, told council members.

With council members united in supporting a boost to Napa’s tight housing supply, much of Tuesday’s discussion revolved around two of The Braydon’s hoped-for features: a pair of westward-facing murals visible from across the Napa River, and a connection to the Napa Valley Vine Trail for those on foot and bicycles.

Council members agreed to let staff review and approve the artwork, which is required for large-scale commercial construction but not for residential projects, despite Councilmember Liz Alessio’s call for the council to vote on the murals given the visibility of the project.

“I can see the apartments even from the Third Street bridge and it looks great,” she said, speaking on a video call to City Hall, where the other four councilmembers met in person. “I just want to make sure that from the other side of the river, the mural also fits Napa and it’s going to be enjoyed by all.”

Meanwhile, Patrick Band, executive director of the Napa County Bicycle Coalition, asked the city to focus on building a trailway linking the apartments to the Napa Valley Vine Trail, the pathway envisioned to eventually stretch from Calistoga to Vallejo. Creating the link will spare cyclists the necessity of skirting busy, four-lane Soscol Avenue or a lengthy detour to Hartle Court to reach downtown from The Braydon, he said. The city is to build the trail connection but has not yet reserved funds for it.

The Braydon’s build-out is expected to gradually boost the number of apartment vacancies in Napa, where no more than 5 percent of the rental stock has been available during the last 15 years, boosting rents and forcing many lower-paid service and hospitality workers to commute to the city from surrounding counties.

The most recent annual survey of rental housing complexes, shared last week with the city Planning Commission, reported a vacancy rate of just 1.4%—down from 2.3% last year and the second tightest supply since at least 2009. Apartments are not counted toward Napa’s housing supply until they have been completed and certified to occupy for at least six months, thus excluding the most recently built Braydon units from this year’s survey.

Apartments at The Braydon are leased at market rates, and online rent listings at the complex start at just over $2,500 a month for one-bedroom units. Developers paid Napa $2 million into the city’s affordable housing fund, money that helped build the nearby Stoddard West development to the south, which comprises 50 rent-limited apartments.

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You can reach Howard Yune at 530-763-2266 or

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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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