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The completion of another high-end, high-rise hotel – and a 19th-century landmark’s rebirth as a famed gastropub’s newest outpost – highlighted a year filled with steady business growth and development in downtown Napa, according to a city report.

Completed projects and real estate sales in Napa’s central business district totaled $180.1 million during 2018, Robin Klingbeil, senior development project coordinator, told the City Council on Tuesday in an annual report on the downtown and Oxbow districts.

Publicly disclosed real estate sales in downtown and the Oxbow totaled $40.4 million and 7.46 acres for the year, including $35.8 million in deals for commercial property. One of central Napa’s larger hotels, the Embassy Suites on California Boulevard, also changed hands in a $102 million purchase by Mani Brothers Real Estate Group, which plans to rebrand it under the Curio Collection by Hilton label.

Food and wine continued to dominate the downtown streetscape, led by the district’s 86 food establishments, 62 of them restaurants, said Klingbeil. Wine tasting rooms totaled 45, joined by six taprooms – most prominently the Napa branch of Escondido-based Stone Brewing, which opened in May inside the historic Borreo Building on Soscol Avenue and Third Street.

With the full roll-out of the Archer – where the top floor was not yet finished on the hotel’s debut in November 2017 – the number of downtown hotel rooms and suites reached 942, along with 170 more rooms at 15 bed-and-breakfast inns. Downtown lodgings generated $9.6 million in room taxes, nearly half the city’s total.

Meanwhile, downtown Napa’s north side gained a commercial anchor at Main and Clinton streets, as the Wiseman Company completed a three-story mixed-use building in March 2018. The 19,000-square-foot building at 1300 Main St. – approved by the city despite opposition to its height near a neighborhood of older, smaller homes – features upstairs offices and street-level space for a restaurant and wine tasting room.

On the retail front, 39 downtown businesses either opened or expanded during the year against 10 closures, Klingbeil reported. Among the newcomers were stores that brought to 15 the number of retail tenants at First Street Napa, the 325,000-square-foot shopping and office arcade once known as Napa Town Center.

City records indicate that retailers – a category that also includes food and wine businesses – take up 31 percent of downtown Napa’s 2.68 million square feet of building stock. Hotels and B&Bs occupy 24 percent of downtown business areas, followed by private-sector offices (19 percent), government buildings (14 percent), cultural and entertainment venues (7 percent) and business and miscellaneous services (5 percent).

About 11 percent of commercial space in Napa’s core is vacant, according to the city report. The figure does not include buildings with quake damage or long-term vacancies, or properties being renovated.

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City of Napa/Town of Yountville Reporter

Howard Yune covers the city of Napa and the town of Yountville. 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.