Napa Sonoma Magazine
The new three-block First Street Napa district is fast becoming Wine Country’s hottest neighborhood.
On a recent weekend, downtown Napa was a bustle of activity. Valets whisked cars away from the Archer Hotel, as the sound of laughter and clinking silverware floated down from its rooftop bar and eatery. Duos flitted in and out of shops, arms laden with purchases. Oenophiles swirled on the sunny patios of tasting rooms, sipping vintages bottled just a few miles away.
Once dismissed as a quick stopping point for visitors on their way to and from Napa Valley, downtown Napa is positioning itself as a destination in its own right, with the ambitious $200 million–plus First Street Napa development cementing it as a place to linger. The three-block, 325,000-square-foot project brought 18 new businesses to the city center in 2018, with a spate of retail, lifestyle, and service enterprises due in 2020.
The mixed-use complex not only houses stores, restaurants, and tasting rooms—many independently and locally owned—but also features work spaces, “living” walls of plants, and artwork created and curated by residents of the region. The First Street Napa Courtyard hosts frequent events, from a monthly Saturday craft fair selling wares from local artisans alongside live music, to carolers filling the square on weekends during the holiday season.
And the energy First Street Napa injected into downtown Napa is still building. At full occupancy, the complex will house close to 40 tenants across its three blocks, positioning it as a powerhouse retail, restaurant, and tasting-room corridor in the years to come. The project’s reach keeps growing, too. Zapolski Real Estate—one of the main drivers behind the First Street development—has been renovating the historic Gordon Building, maintaining its 1929-built exterior, while redesigning the 20,000-square-foot structure to make way for two stories of restaurant, retail, or office space. The renovations were slated to be completed in the fall, with the first tenants expected to move in in early 2020.