For many years it was home to the Helsley Furniture Co. Later, Nor-Mar Fabrics was a longtime tenant.
Today, the 1900-era building at 1327 Main St. in downtown Napa is vacant and for sale. However, if a new owner steps forward, it could potentially be redeveloped as a new retail and office complex with an arcade-style passage area.
Listed for sale for $2.295 million, the property is owned by JADI LLC, with an Irvine, Calif. mailing address. It also includes a residential building adjacent to the former sewing store.
The owners would also consider a lease for $4 per square foot, said listing agent Joe Fischer of Strong & Hayden commercial real estate.
According to Fischer, the owners have been splitting their time between Southern California and Napa, but now Napa is becoming their primary home.
They purchased the 1327 Main St. property in 2014, which is about two years after the Napa City Council adopted the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP).
“The owners embraced the vision of a vibrant downtown as envisioned under the DSP and its related zoning,” wrote Fischer in an email. “They loved the base existing buildings and site layout and were enthralled with the renaissance that was already happening.”
The decision to sell came from Fischer’s recommendation, he said.
“Most of the serious tenants/players in our local commercial market are ‘owner/users,’ companies that want a downtown location, but are more inclined toward ownership instead of leasing,” he pointed out. “The recent sale of the former Burger Fi is a great example of this.”
The former Burger Fi building, located at 967 First St., was recently sold to John and Nat Komes.
They are proprietors of Flora Springs Winery, Jon Nathaniel Wines and Bodacious Wines.
In September, the Komes’ received a design permit from the city Planning Commission for Lavender Hill, a tropically-themed eatery intended to occupy the two-story waterfront property.
For the 1327 Main St. redevelopment plan, the owners were inspired by the Napa Farmers Market, said Fischer.
“They envisioned a series of smaller 200 to 250-square-foot shops that could be home to the artisans and purveyors that make up the market,” said Fischer.
The idea is to offer a an alley-like feel “with smaller, affordable spaces for the many entrepreneurs that are the core of the Napa Farmers Market and giving them a permanent home next to a compelling core tenant.”
The core tenant or owner for the primary space likely is a winery label or cooperative tasting room. It could also be a brewery or tap room, he said. The back portion of the property offers significant outdoor space – particularly coveted during the COVID-19 pandemic – for a beer garden-type experiences.
“To me, this concept is also reminiscent of Yountville’s approach to tasting rooms – you can implement a tasting room, but you have to include non-wine related retail in your plan to make it work,” said Fischer.
It also reminds him of Vine Alley, a warren of shops, offices and wine tasting rooms located at the Sonoma Square in Sonoma, he said.
The property owners “are bullish on the Main Street corridor and downtown Napa in general,” said Fischer. The city’s core “has been transformed following the flood control project and it’s clear that downtown Napa is now the primary hospitality launching point to the Upvalley Shangri-La of vineyards and wineries.”
The recent announcement that the Kohl’s department store would move to a new site in South Napa and then be redeveloped into a block of additional hotel rooms and workforce apartments “also bolsters the future for downtown and the property,” he said.
Yes, “Some people are going to whine about another potential wine use in downtown Napa,” acknowledged Fischer. But, “the wine business and its related hospitality are the economic engine of this valley.”
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You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 256-2218 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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