Seven-story hotel planned for downtown
Todd Zapolski announced Monday that he will join forces with hotel developer LodgeWorks to build a seven-story, 185-room luxury hotel in downtown called Archer Napa.
The project, described as a ?high-end, four-star boutique? hotel costing $70 million, is planned for the 1200 block of First Street, centered on the site of the long-vacant, former Merrill?s drug store.
Zapolski said development of a high-end hotel would help him attract upscale retailers to the adjacent Shops at Napa Center, a struggling property which he bought in early 2012 with plans for a major makeover.
The LodgeWorks name may sound familiar to some Napans. The company developed a five-story, 141-room Avia hotel, now named Andaz, two blocks further west on First Street in 2009. The company sold the hotel to Hyatt Hotels Corporation in August 2011, and it became the Andaz brand it is today.
?It?s very good for the city,? Mike Parness, city manager, said of the proposed hotel on the Merrrill?s site. More lodging is an integral part of the Downtown Specific Plan, which seeks to attract more tourists to the central city, he said.
LodgeWorks has a commitment to high quality, said Parness. ?We worked well with them in the past and we?re happy with the product. We know they have a strong reputation and they follow through and do what they say they are going to do.?
?We wanted the right group with the right product? to develop the hotel, Zapolski said of LodgeWorks. ?They are wonderful hotel entrepreneurs,? he said. ?It?s very exciting for all of us.?
?I think it?s terrific,? said Clay Gregory, CEO of Visit Napa Valley. ?Having a hotel commitment is going to help bring in other tenants,? he said. ?That whole area being revitalized is critically important. It?s a good step in the right direction for downtown Napa.?
Zapolski bought the beleaguered Town Center in May 2012 from George Altamura, The Doctors Company and partners. He renamed it Shops at Napa Center and began working to find a hotel partner and retail tenants.
LodgeWorks Partners, L.P., is a privately held hotel development and management company. LodgeWorks owns, franchises and/or manages a portfolio of branded hotels including Hyatt House, Hyatt Place, Aloft, Hawthorn Suites and Hilton Garden Inn.
The company?s first Archer branded hotel is currently being built in midtown Manhattan, Zapolski said. The Napa property will be the second.
The hotel will occupy the footprint of the former Merrill?s and the adjacent Dunne buildings to the west.
At seven stories, it would be downtown Napa?s tallest building, but within the height requirements of city ordinances and in compliance with the Downtown Specific Plan, Zapolski said.
LodgeWorks intends to preserve the period architecture of the Merrill?s building exterior, Zapolski said. ?It will be a real landmark.?
With city approvals, construction could start as soon as spring 2014, with the hotel opening in early to mid-2016, he said. The first floor will feature retail with the lodging above.
Zapolski, who has cleared out many tenants at the Shops at Napa Center to make way for new retailers, said he did not have any leases to announce just yet.
?The hotel was a critical step to define the project,? he said. ?This is a key first step? and ?a real endorsement for the location,? which will help lure new retailers and even other hotel operators to the area.
?We have a population here that will make our project viable, but we do need more bodies in the downtown on a regular basis,? said Zapolski, who said he welcomed yet more hotels in the area.
A hotel someday at First and Silverado Trail, once proposed for a Ritz Carlton, the planned St. Regis on Stanly Lane in Carneros and more rooms at the Napa River Inn ?will bring people here,? he said.
The proposed Archer hotel and retail structure ?will be thoughtful to its place and prominence, reflecting a casual elegance, organic to the Napa aesthetic,? a joint news release said.
?It is a gift to have hospitality veterans such as themselves, especially given their familiarity with the area, join us as a collaborator to bring an exceptional redevelopment project to two full blocks of downtown Napa,? said Zapolski.
?This project is significant to us on multiple fronts,? said Mike Daood, LodgeWorks president. ?How wonderful to be chosen to return to a community that trusted our team to effect positive change in their hometown. We (are) thrilled to be part of the continued revitalization that is taking place downtown,? Daood said. ?There is a great enthusiasm around downtown Napa that we believe in.?
Other hotel details are still in the planning stages, according to the news release.