If you have been traveling in the Napa Valley this summer you may have noticed that traffic is heavier, restaurants and lodging more crowded, and tasting rooms jammed. The North Bay Business Journal reports that tourism in the Valley is up 68% since the recession low in 2009. Yes, the Napa Valley is booming, and it is only going to get busier as several major projects are in the works up and down the Valley.
Archer Napa Hotel
In the town of Napa, construction will start on the Archer Napa Hotel this Fall. It will be built on the 1200 block of First Street, where the closed Merrill Drug store is located. The Archer Napa will be an upscale hotel with 183 rooms, a restaurant, and retail space. Final approval, barring any unforeseen issues, will come at the Napa City Council meeting on August 19. The rendering in the photo shows the stunning landscape of the five-story Archer Napa Hotel. There are a few current businesses on the block that will have to vacate. The most notable business at this location is the Ceja Vineyards tasting room. Ceja has had an amazing run since their opening in 2008. They have stated that they will not open a tasting room in the retail area of the new Archer, but will move to another location soon. Closely associated with this hotel project is the Napa Town Center. It has been somewhat of an eyesore in downtown Napa, but is currently getting a major facelift. Developer Todd Zapolski is orchestrating this and is in partnership with Lodgeworks on the Archer Hotel.
Moving up to St. Helena, just north of the business area is the Freemark Abbey winery owned by Jackson Family Wines. Our grapevine sources tell us that Jackson Family Wines will renovate Freemark Abbey to the tune of 30 million dollars. Plans call for a hotel and restaurant. This apparently is all in the planning stages but, rest assured, Jackson Family Wines will move quickly on this project.
Almost directly across the street from Freemark Abbey on Highway 29 is the Cairdean Winery. This was once the location of the St. Helena outlet stores. Currently there is a Cairdean tasting room, and the Farmer and the Fox restaurant. Soon to open on August 18 is a bakery and sandwich shop. My guess is, given the location, this bakery is going to one busy spot. Under construction is a winemaking facility with enough caves to produce 50,000 gallons of wine annually. Also under construction is a two-story structure which will serve as an art gallery and merchant space. The interesting thing is that when Edwin and Stacia Williams bought this property, along with it came a surprise: a Commercial Limited permit. This enables the Williams’ to do a lot with this property that new business establishments cannot do under the current county codes. What a bonanza for Edwin and Stacia! The tasting room is open and I, for one, will be there on our next visit to the Napa Valley. My only worry is the possible traffic congestion, with folks attempting to turn left in and out of the entrance. Highway 29 along that stretch moves fast, and it can be precarious no doubt.
Silver Rose Resort
The old Silver Rose Inn across from Solage is being demolished as we write this article. Demolition should wrap up in another week and construction will start immediately. The Silver Rose will be replaced with an 84-room hotel, along with a restaurant, a winery, and a six-acre vineyard. There will also be twenty private homes built on the property. Calistoga residents approved the resort in the last election, and the town and community are behind this project. Kelly Foster, of Bald Mountain Development, expects that the resort and facilities will take approximately two years to build. So with the Solage and the Silver Rose across from it, let’s see what good old competition will bring to the wine country traveler. I think, in the off season, there will be deals to be had for rooms and meals. I love the Travelzoo specials! Will we find some increased traffic congestion up at the northern end of the Silverado Trail? My guess is yes, but we’ll have to wait for a couple of years to find out.