I was excited to see the recent news for downtown Napa real estate: Napa’s historic post office has been purchased and will become a new hotel.
Local developer and broker, Jim Keller, purchased the property for $2 million from the United States Postal Service. The post office, located at 1351 Second St., was damaged in the August 2014 earthquake and has been closed ever since.
Keller’s plans for the property include turning it into a boutique hotel with a possible residential component. Another luxury boutique hotel, the Archer Hotel, is completing construction just a few blocks away. The Archer, which is expected to open in late spring, is five stories high, making it the tallest building in Napa Valley.
The downtown post office, built in the Art Deco style in the 1930s, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. About a year after the August earthquake, the USPS made plans to demolish the building, which would cost about $500,000. Another option – repairing the quake damage – would have cost $8 million.
Due to public outcry against demolition, the USPS decided on another alternative: selling the property to someone who could repair the damaged structure while preserving its architectural integrity. That’s when Keller stepped forward.
The next challenge was to find parking to accommodate Keller’s plans for a hotel. To solve that issue, Keller recently made another downtown Napa real estate purchase: the city parking lot adjacent to Billco’s. Keller said that without that parking space – which cost about $1.7 million – “the deal would have failed.”
To rehabilitate the post office property, Keller estimates he will have to spend another $6 to $8 million. The next steps include submitting applications to the city to approve his ideas. The design of the proposed hotel and how it will complement the post office building is being developed.
Keller told the Napa Valley Register: “It’s going to be grand and probably one of the coolest projects to hit downtown in many years.”
Keller said this is the biggest project he’s ever taken on, but he feels confident in his strong vision. “I appreciate the trust that the city and the public have given me to get this thing restored and turn this into one of the more significant blocks in downtown. Everyone’s going to have to trust that we make it something that everyone can be proud of.”
If you’re interested in Napa real estate, I have access to some extraordinary wineries, vineyards, estates and homes that are not on the open market and would be delighted to help you find your dream wine country property. You can reach me at 707-738-4820 or [email protected].