Costco at Napa Pipe

A 2015 preliminary rendering of the proposed 150,000-square-foot Costco store planned as part of the Napa Pipe site redevelopment.

Napa’s Costco countdown continues, though without firm dates to start building, complete and open the planned megastore on the Napa Pipe property.

Keith Rogal of Napa Pipe said last July that soil remediation work for the property along the Napa River might start as soon as the fall. He said that could lead to Costco construction beginning sometime in 2017, with an opening in 2018.

But remediation work has yet to begin. Rogal, who was in Boston this past week, answered questions on the Costco timeline by email.

“It was a busy summer in the construction and planning world, and the team’s review of site conditions and preparation of careful bid documents, coupled with early rains (good news for California, but not for site work) has pushed the start of that work into the spring,” Rogal said.

Whether Costco can still start construction this year is to be determined, based on such factors as future weather conditions, Rogal said.

Napa Redevelopment Partners – the Napa Pipe developers – and Costco have been working on the project since 2015. Major progress over the past year includes doing a detailed civil engineering design of the Costco site and working with the county and city of Napa on the architecture, Rogal said.

“Of course, there are still many steps to go through with a large project like this and Costco and Napa Redevelopment Partners continue working closely to get there as soon as practical,” he said.

Napa Pipe is 154 acres that beginning in the late 1930s saw such industrial activity as shipbuilding and metal pipe fabrication. The site hasn’t been used since Oregon Steel Mills closed in 2004.

Napa Redevelopment Partners subsequently won county approval to redevelop the land. The Napa Pipe project is to include such features as 945 homes, parks, trails, a hotel, offices and the debut project – Costco.

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But first, developers must address soil contamination that is the property’s industrial legacy. More than 120,000 cubic yards of soil containing hydraulic oils, solvents and other pollutants must be cleaned, according to the state Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Napa Redevelopment Partners turned to the California Statewide Communities Facilities Development Authority for the financing mechanism. On Oct. 6, the agency approved forming a Napa Pipe district to levy a special tax for bonds up to $25 million.

This tax district covers only the Napa Pipe property. The promise of future development would make the loan possible.

The plan is for the bonds to cover the remediation work and possibly other site work, Rogal said. This is a common financing technique used throughout California and helps ensure that remediation and infrastructure development don’t unduly raise the overall project costs, he said.

Meanwhile, county officials have mentioned the possibility that Napa Redevelopment Partners will ask for changes in the county Board of Supervisors-approved Napa Pipe development agreement. These changes to reconfigure the housing portion would allow for greater efficiency and lower costs.

Rogal said some site plan improvements are being explored, but discussions are preliminary. Changes would involve support from both Napa County and the city of Napa.

Regardless of what happens, remediation must proceed first, he said.

The 154-acre property has seen one change over past months that’s invisible to the eye. Annexation of 111 acres to the city of Napa – including the Costco site – was completed last September, according to the Napa County Local Agency Formation Commission.

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Napa County Reporter

Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He has worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield.