The City of Napa issued the following announcement May 3:
On May 1, 2012, the City Council directed staff to negotiate an agreement with the Land Trust of Napa County for the sale of the City-owned Borreo Building. The City will now enter into an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with the Land Trust, outlining timeframes and specific activities to occur prior to the sale of the building. Negotiations could take up to six months with the sale to be complete in late 2012 or early 2013.
In November 2011, the City issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the sale of this historic landmark building. Four teams submitted proposals – Enea Properties; The Borreo Winery Cooperative; Paul Jr. Designs; and the Land Trust. During the process, Paul Jr. Designs withdrew its proposal due to timing considerations. The City’s review team recommended the Land Trust proposal to the Council.
The Land Trust proposes to purchase, restore and rehabilitate the Borreo Building to serve as a permanent office headquarters for the 35-year-old non-profit organization on the second floor. The ground-floor use is yet to be determined, but with the proposed high-quality improvements, the Land Trust has stated its confidence in attracting an interested tenant or tenants who complement the Land Trust use.
Situated at a downtown gateway location at Third Street and Soscol Avenue, the building enjoys high visibility and a river view. Strong & Hayden Commercial Real Estate is working with the Land Trust on selecting a tenant for the 3,840-square-foot, first floor space.
“We have interest from prospective retail tenants,” said Elissa Wiebalk, one of the listing agents for the property. “Now that the Land Trust has been selected as the preferred owner, we can move forward on finding a vibrant, appropriate and exciting use for the first floor.”
According to Land Trust CEO Joel Tranmer, “The Land Trust has been searching for a permanent home for some time and it became clear that the suitable property must resonate with our mission: to preserve the character of Napa County by permanently protecting land.
Through this lens, three key criteria emerged as guidelines in our search: to minimize our carbon footprint by focusing on a pre-existing property in an urban city center; to focus on a historical building that reflects Napa’s agricultural heritage and whose preservation and stewardship demonstrates the important intersection between land protection and historic preservation; and, to create added value for the Napa community as well as the millions of visitors who pass through the City of Napa each year. The Borreo Building clearly meets all three of these criteria.”
“I’m pleased to be working with the Land Trust,” said Community Development Director Cassandra Walker. “It’s appropriate that an organization dedicated to the permanent preservation of open space wants to invest in the long-term preservation and stewardship of an important historic landmark in downtown.”
Tranmer states that the Land Trust is financially sound and capable of making this property one of the jewels of the Napa riverfront, and it can afford to be patient while marketing the ground floor for lease. With the Land Trust occupying the building, it will be close to the ground-level tenants, ensuring a strong landlord-tenant relationship, he said.
City staff will work closely with the Land Trust to obtain approvals necessary for restoration and renovation of the building, site improvements, and operational needs such as off-site parking and outdoor uses.
Built in 1887, the Borreo Building is either the oldest or the second oldest commercial building in Napa: "There is a debate over the relative ages of the Borreo and the former laundry on Clinton St. that is now the Vintners Collective," wrote .
The landmark building, made of native stone quarried from the Soda Canyon area, represents "a melting pot of Napa’s mercantile history," Bors wrote: Its 9,000 square feet have housed a grocery and feed store, a shirt factory, a winery, an automobile agency and a drayage warehouse and even a second-story "dance hall and social center known as 'Egyptian Hall.'"
The Borreo has been owned by the city since 1966. It was designated a historical landmark in 1977 and retrofitted for seismic safety in 2006.