Napa County had two bidders push up the price for its Water Street corporation yard in the city of Napa’s Oxbow District and is poised to sell the land for $5.3 million.
The Napa County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 23 approved selling the surplus 1.63 acres at 933 Water St. to Wayne O’Connell. O’Connell recently bought the adjacent 5-acre property that contains a former Copia garden and parking lot south of First Street.
“We have a vision for the Oxbow commercial district,” O’Connell told supervisors. “And, frankly, the sort of industrial look of the current corporation yard doesn’t fit into our vision very well.”
The city of Napa general plan calls for the Oxbow district to be tourist-commercial, said O’Connell, who is a local developer and vintner. His team wants to accomplish that.
“We need more people in our downtown,” O’Connell said. “We need residents and visitors to have accommodations there. So we envision housing. We envision other accommodations. We envision developing a true, mixed-use district.”
O’Connell said he’d like to see Napa Valley visitors spend more time in the city of Napa supporting local merchants. But, as he and supervisors noted, the county will be out of the planning picture when the sale is completed.
“We’ll be happy in this regard to take the money and turn that (site) over to you,” Board of Supervisors Chair Brad Wagenknecht told O’Connell. “You’re going to need to work with the city of Napa on your vision.”