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What Should Fill Vacancies at Town Center?

The pedestrian mall in the heart of downtown Napa is lined with empty shops. What would you like to see replace the vacancies?

City of Napa planning director there is enough vacant retail space in downtown Napa for about 53 shops.

Many of those vacancies are in , the pedestrian mall just north of First Street, where empty storefronts abound.

What kinds of shops, restaurants and other businesses would you like to see come to Town Center?

Let your imagination run free and share your thoughts in our comments section.

John Sensenbaugh April 11, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Great topic. However, I don't believe it really matters too much what any of us would like to see. Until the town center gets new ownership, we're unlikely to see any significant changes from the status quo. The owner apparently refuses to conduct serious negotiations with anyone, spend any money on improvements or marketing, and seems content to hold the city hostage to this blight unless he can get what he wants. Even long time store owner, Ken Garadella of Napa Jewelers, was quoted recently in the Register as saying the landlord is difficult to deal with. Furthermore, this landlord has flaunted the city ordinance to earthquake retrofit other buildings he owns downtown seemingly with impunity. He's currently eighty years old and, to put it bluntly, I believe his legacy of downtown management will be as a selfish slum lord.
Karen Garcia April 11, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Until there are shops in them, I'd like to see artists use them: studio space, demonstrations, sales.
VB April 11, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Chico's would be ideal. That store would bring foot traffic into the area. I also think a florist with beautiful blooms in buckets outside, a wine store featuring Napa Valley Wines, a shoe store with some unusual styles, a bakery-coffee shop, a Nordstom's Rack....
Segway Napa April 11, 2012 at 03:49 PM
A skating rink, these kids hang out there anyway- let's give them something to do that's fun.
Rob Sherman April 11, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Zachary's Pizza, the best Chicago deep-dish pizza to be found West of the Mississippi! I have to drive to Berkeley to get it, and it's worth the drive, but having one locally would improve the quality of life here dramatically. Reply to my comment as you will, please, but indicate whether you have ever tasted a slice of Zachary's.
Derry April 11, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I believe that the best way to entice shoppers to the Town Center is to cover the pedestrian areas between the buildings with a translucent all-weather covering which would transform the center into an arcade. It can be free-standing which would make the engineering easy and it would make the walkways more enticing, especially during the holiday season. Just my opinion.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) April 11, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Apologies to everyone for the hold-up in comments today. We've got a tech snag to work out.
Louisa Hufstader April 11, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Looking for more comments on this article from Wednesday morning? They are all right here: http://napa.patch.com/articles/your-ideas-for-town-center.
tamie April 12, 2012 at 01:16 AM
How about affordable, 1/2 way decent clothes for the middle class. Old Navy would be a good option.
Larry Cereghino April 12, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Well now that Best Buy will open smaller store's,time to bring one to Napa,its over due,,mybe a Olive Garden,great food.We dont need any more coffee shops,or wine tasting rooms.. Time to turn the streets back to 2 way..the one way streets just havnt worked....
Catherine George April 12, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Thanks for posting the other comments! Would love to see a really really great art supply store! Though I love the one we have (Napa Valley Art Supplies), its selections are a bit limited. It would be great to have something along the lines of a "Dick Blick", "Pearl Paint", or even a "Clay People"! Also, would love to see a really great outdoor gear store - something like an "REI", "North Face, or "Any Mountain". There are all sorts of other possibilities for unique shops that could bring more life to that part of downtown, such as; kite store, bookstore/cafe combo, bike store, galleries of various sorts, maps store, maybe even a store and facility combo that teaches how to make wine, sells all of the equipment and supplies, and provides rentable space for people to make their own wine.
Marsha Dorgan April 12, 2012 at 03:09 PM
How about a night club that would stay open late. This would also benefit the recent rise in restaurants downtown. I think it is something those businesses would welcome. A night club would attract locals and visitors. It could be a good venue for showcasing local and regional talent.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) April 12, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Marsha, what a great idea! Maybe if combined with Derry's idea of turning the space into an arcade, so the sounds of music and revelry are contained to the property. (What might be really cool would be to have multiple areas, at least one for all-ages entertainment and another for the 21-and-ups like us.) Keep thinking big!
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) April 12, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I would love to have a bookstore/café/record store with indoor and outdoor seating.
Louisa Hufstader (Editor) April 12, 2012 at 04:46 PM
I worked closely with Best Buy in the 1990s to launch a new product line and had a great experience at that time, but right now I'd like to see the company get its own house in order before it expands into our neighborhood. They need a strong CEO, for starters!
DJ Lipton Weide April 25, 2012 at 04:16 PM
I love the idea of having an open square like in Sonoma. I know some of the buildings are historic, but it would be lovely to have an open pedestrian area with cafes, nightclub, arcade, clothing shops, and to include all of the above contributions! If the mostly empty building on the north side of First were removed - think of the possibilities!

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