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Napa Pipe faces final approval vote Jan. 21 after city, county agree on housing

Napa Pipe faces final approval vote Jan. 21 after city, county agree on housing

Napa Pipe

Napa Pipe developer Keith Rogal leads a tour of the property in September 2017. The former industrial site, once home to a Kaiser Steel plant, is being targeted for a planned community to include 945 homes and a Costco.

The finish line for Napa Pipe’s approval is now just over a month away.

More than a decade in the making, the blend of hundreds of homes, retail space, parkland and a Costco store is on track for a vote of approval by the City Council on Jan. 21, Planning Manager Erin Morris told council members Tuesday.

The announcement came as the council – and, earlier in the day, the Napa County Board of Supervisors – approved a set of city-county pacts to govern the 154-acre project, including an agreement for both governments to share credit for state-required affordable housing that will form part of Napa Pipe’s housing stock of up to 945 dwellings.

Helping Napa County meet its commitments for lower-cost and lower-rent housing has been one of the last hurdles to Napa Pipe’s groundbreaking. But the passage this fall of state Senate Bill 235 allowed the county to count affordable homes built at Napa Pipe toward its state-determined target for residential construction, even though the city annexed 111 acres of the property in 2016 and will acquire the rest ahead of the original date of December 2022.

Final approval next month would open the way for lead developer Catellus Development Corp. to break ground on the first phase of Napa Pipe, which will occupy the eastern portion of the Napa Pipe industrial site in south Napa that closed 15 years ago. The opening stage will include construction of some 300 dwellings as well as a Costco store, the company’s first in the Napa Valley.

The Costco may open as early as mid-2022, and housing sales on Napa Pipe’s east side are expected to take place from 2021 to 2023, Tom Marshall, executive vice president of Catellus, said earlier this month. Construction would then begin on the project’s second phase, west of the Union Pacific railroad line that bisects the site.

Fully built out, 700 to 945 housing units would be spread over Napa Pipe, combined with a 150-room hotel, 34 acres of parkland, light industrial and commercial buildings, and 40,000 square feet of retail space. Kaiser Steel’s former dry dock near the Napa River would be reshaped into a waterside recreational area.

Planning for Napa Pipe began with the site’s purchase by the developer Keith Rogal in December 2005, the year after Oregon Steel Mills Inc. halted its pipe-making operation and ended an industrial history that began with ship building during World War II. After early forecasts of up to 3,200 townhomes aroused opposition to such dense development far from central Napa, developers reduced the number of housing units to 945 in 2012 and added a Costco to the project.

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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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