FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

NAPA CIVIC CENTER OVERVIEW

The proposed Civic Center will consolidate City administrative and public safety functions into a four-story building of approximately 130,000 square feet, including an 18,000- to 24,000-square-foot expansion space on the fourth floor. The selected site is on the current Community Services Building block (bound by First, Clay, Seminary, and Washington streets). The Civic Center will also include a new Fire Station #1 on the current Housing Authority site on the north side of Clay Street at Seminary Street. A 271-space parking garage will also be constructed on a surface parking lot at 1511 Clay Street (just west of the existing Clay Street Garage).

The proposed Civic Center will create a western gateway to Downtown Napa fronting the north side of First Street. There will be ample public amenities and gathering spaces including a state-of-the-art City Council chambers; training and meeting rooms; public plazas; welcoming public counters; public art; and, as mentioned, a new downtown parking garage.

SUPERBLOCK SITE

Key to the successful development of the Civic Center is the sale and redevelopment of the current City-owned “Superblock” – bound by First, Second, School and Seminary streets – where the current City Hall, Fire Station 1 and the Public Safety building are located. The proceeds from the property sale and ongoing tax revenue that are generated by a redeveloped Superblock will provide significant funds to help pay for the Civic Center (see more discussion under Frequently Asked Questions). As proposed, the Superblock would be developed to include:

  • A 200- to 250-room hotel
  • A small market, restaurants, cafe and retail uses totaling approximately 40,000 square feet
  • Up to 100 residential units
  • Parking spaces sufficient for all uses will be contained on site or nearby offsite/off-street

This component of the project will be developed and owned by a private entity (Plenary Properties Napa), and will be subject to a public design review and approval process, anticipated to occur in mid-2018.

While the two components of the project – the Civic Center and the Superblock – are closely linked, the Frequently Asked Questions below focus primarily on the Civic Center.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Background

Why does the City of Napa need a new Civic Center?

A new Civic Center is the most cost effective and safe way for the City to deliver quality services to the community. Currently, the City’s facilities for public safety and general administration are spread across seven City-owned and - leased buildings, many over 50 years old and in need of upgrades and expansion to accommodate the City’s operational needs and meet modern building codes.

The current Public Safety Building – where Fire Administration, Police Department, Dispatch, and Emergency Operations Center operate -- does not meet current California Essential Services Act standards for seismic safety. The building sustained significant damage in the August 2014 earthquake.

Many of the other buildings are aging, non-compliant with current regulations, ill-suited to City functions, and in need of significant rehabilitation. This compromises functional and energy efficiency, and the mounting costs to operate, repair and maintain these facilities is a growing concern and public expense.

Accessing City services can be confusing to the public. Consolidating City operations into a Civic Center will eliminate confusion and existing redundancies like multiple break rooms, public counters, and restroom facilities; allow City staff to collaborate with greater ease; and provide better service to the public. It will free up land that can be put to better economic use for the community and help offset the costs of the new Civic Center.

Why can’t we just remodel City Hall?

Remodeling existing City facilities would not be financially viable. The City analyzed the potential cost to address deferred maintenance and renovate the current facilities to a standard that would ensure quality service delivery and meet operational needs. In conclusion, the one-time cost of construction would be approximately $77 million. This estimate does not include ongoing operations and maintenance, or capital replacement costs. The City would have to borrow funds, with an estimated annual debt service of approximately $4.6 million, without a dedicated revenue source to repay debt. Further, the City’s operations would remain scattered among several buildings; leases for some City offices would continue at an annual cost of roughly $300,000; and operational efficiencies would not be gained, with customer service continuing to be less than optimal.

Project Cost & Financing

How much will the Civic Center project cost and how will the City pay for it?

The City is currently in exclusive negotiations with a private development partner, Plenary Properties Napa (“PPN”) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the new Civic Center. This arrangement is called a “public-private partnership” or P3, which is a widely used approach to financing and building capital facilities throughout the United States. As currently proposed by PPN in response to the City’s Request for Proposals, PPN would be responsible for designing, building, financing, operating, and maintaining the Civic Center for 32 years in exchange for annual payments from the City.

The Civic Center construction costs are currently estimated at $86.7 million, including the new Public Safety and City Administration Building, new Fire Station 1, and new parking structure on Clay Street. There will be additional costs for “swing space” (where City employees and services will be located during construction of the Civic Center), public art, operations and maintenance, financing, reserves and certain other costs. The City and PPN are currently negotiating how these costs will be funded through a combination of proceeds from the sale of the Superblock, a public bond issuance and financing from the developer (PPN).

The City’s annual payment in the first year of operations is currently estimated at $6.1 million, growing at 2% per year for the 30 year operating term. Importantly, this payment includes repayment of principal and interest of the public bonds, ongoing operations and maintenance costs, dedicated funding for major maintenance and capital replacement, and developer financing. Importantly, these payments include a dedicated source of funds to ensure the buildings remain in a state of good repair and don’t build up deferred maintenance costs over time.

For the Civic Center project, a key component for funding the project is the sale and redevelopment of the City-owned “Superblock.” This property will be sold to PPN at the fair market value of approximately $14.4 million net of transaction costs and once developed, generate ongoing annual tax revenue estimated at approximately $3 million in the first year of operations which is expected to grow in line with future economic growth. This new tax revenue significantly reduces the City’s annual payment on the Civic Center project over the 30 year operating term.

Will the Civic Center project divert City funds away from other services, programs and projects?

No. The construction and other upfront costs of the Civic Center project will be financed largely from land sale proceeds, bond issuance and financing provided by PPN. The City will make annual payments to PPN utilizing general fund revenue. In approximately year 12, projected annual revenue generated by the project will exceed the costs of annual debt payments.

Timing, Schedule, Phasing & Future Needs

Why does the Civic Center project have to proceed now?

The City has been considering a new Civic Center for more than a decade. The time has come to move forward, otherwise the City will have to invest funds in repairing, modernizing and expanding its current facilities, including the earthquake-damaged public safety building. For reasons described above, the repair/renovate approach is not the best solution or use of public funds, nor the best way to deliver public services to the community. Also, there is a substantial benefit to borrowing funds now with low interest rates, versus waiting when interest rates could increase and costs of borrowing potentially skyrocket.

The Civic Center construction costs are currently estimated at $86.7 million, including the new Public Safety and City Administration Building, new Fire Station 1, and new parking structure on Clay Street. There will be additional costs for “swing space” (where City employees and services will be located during construction of the Civic Center), public art, operations and maintenance, financing, reserves and certain other costs. The City and PPN are currently negotiating how these costs will be funded through a combination of proceeds from the sale of the Superblock, a public bond issuance and financing from the developer (PPN).

The City’s annual payment in the first year of operations is currently estimated at $6.1 million, growing at 2% per year for the 30 year operating term. Importantly, this payment includes repayment of principal and interest of the public bonds, ongoing operations and maintenance costs, dedicated funding for major maintenance and capital replacement, and developer financing. Importantly, these payments include a dedicated source of funds to ensure the buildings remain in a state of good repair and don’t build up deferred maintenance costs over time.

For the Civic Center project, a key component for funding the project is the sale and redevelopment of the City-owned “Superblock.” This property will be sold to PPN at the fair market value of approximately $14.4 million net of transaction costs and once developed, generate ongoing annual tax revenue estimated at approximately $3 million in the first year of operations which is expected to grow in line with future economic growth. This new tax revenue significantly reduces the City’s annual payment on the Civic Center project over the 30 year operating term.

What is the schedule for the new Civic Center?

It is currently anticipated that the Civic Center will complete detailed design and secure entitlement and other approvals by late 2018/early 2019 followed by an approximately 2 year construction period. It would then be ready for occupancy in early- to mid- 2021.

What is the phasing plan for the Civic Center, parking structure and fire station? And how will the Super Block development be phased with the Civic Center?

Construction of the Civic Center Project and the Superblock development will occur at the same time. This approach has been adopted both to minimize the overall period of time during which this part of downtown is impacted by construction and to accelerate the private development (and the revenue it generates) in order to match the timing of the lease payments on the Civic Center as closely as possible.

Where will current downtown City functions and employees be while the Civic Center is being built?

The City’s private partner, PPN, is in the process of identifying and securing one or more locations for “swing space” to which certain City operations will relocate during the construction of the Civic Center site. Criteria for swing space include that it be publicly accessible and able to accommodate City operations without a significant investment to retrofit the space. More information on the specific location to go for city services will be provided closer to the start of construction of the Project (late 2018 / early 2019). The cost of swing space has been factored into the overall project cost.

What happens if the City expands its workforce over time; will we have to build yet another new Civic Center?

No. In anticipation of future City workforce expansion and space needs, a 24,000 square foot fourth-floor “cold shell” has been added to the proposed Civic Center’s main building. Until the space is needed for City use, it can be configured for other uses which could generate potential lease revenue to the City.

Location

Why does the Civic Center have to be Downtown?

Downtown Napa has always been the official seat of City Hall. Relocating the Civic Center elsewhere could erode Downtown’s identity as the heart of the City’s civic, economic and cultural activities. In addition, a downtown location is central and easily accessible from all parts of the City.

How was the proposed site selected?

Years of careful evaluation of potential Downtown sites resulted in the proposed site for the Civic Center. In the end, utilizing City-owned property will yield the best financial opportunity to accomplish the project objectives. Other nearby sites not owned by the City were considered but each posed significant obstacles (e.g., the former Safeway site is one example).

What about the County-owned site on Third Street (currently a surface parking lot), a.k.a. the Sullivan Site?

The City and County spent a considerable amount of time and effort studying the option of moving together to the Sullivan site. This included conceptual site design and economic analysis. The following resulted:

  • While sharing facilities would have allowed some economies of scale, the site has constraints that would have resulted in a very dense development. Parking would have to be moved to a new structure. Traffic circulation would have been impacted by the need to close Fourth Street adjacent to the Sullivan site to accommodate the parking garage.
  • The traffic, high density and service demands including police activity would impact the adjacent historic church and neighborhood. Earlier, the neighborhood had indicated strong opposition to a County plan which would have located their administrative facilities to the Sullivan site. A consolidation plan would have much greater impacts.
  • Prior to the City site selection process for the Civic Center, the County considered consolidation of their administrative operations long term to a site they acquired in the Corporate Park, along with significant Health and Human Services (HHS) operations. This property purchase offered a more flexible and cost-effective campus which would meet the County’s long-range needs.
  • The County determined that its capital planning required careful prioritization, with the top priority being construction of a new jail facility and relocation of the HHS operations to the new location. They currently do not have a priority assigned to new Administration facilities.
  • The site ultimately selected by the City in Downtown is fully contained on property currently owned by the City. The Sullivan site would have to be purchased by the City from the County at current fair market value; the City would not receive a discount because the sale proceeds are to be used to build the required new jail facility. A transaction of this nature would greatly impact the cost to build a new City Civic Center.
  • The City-selected site will provide the opportunity to create an impressive and functional gateway entry into Downtown Napa, particularly since the traffic direction on First Street from Highway 29 to Jefferson Street will be reversed from westbound to eastbound prior to completion of the Civic Center. City operations will anchor and activate the gateway on the west and the Oxbow District will continue to anchor and activate on the east, providing the entire Downtown economic vitality.
  • By locating on the west end of Downtown, public parking and access to parking will be achieved in a new garage on Clay Street.
  • One hundred new housing units will be built on the current City Hall site. Additional housing will be provided in the downtown area to address affordability demands. The location of new housing will not only help relieve housing demand but will serve to activate the Downtown providing a strong and vibrant local economy year-round.

Parking & Traffic Circulation

How will parking be addressed?

Secured on-site parking will be provided for police vehicles and some City officials and fleet vehicles (29 spaces). Most City employees and visitors who drive their cars to City Hall will utilize public parking either in a proposed ~320-space parking garage on Clay Street, or in other available public parking in Downtown. PPN’s proposal will also provide approximately 29 on-street parking spaces surrounding the Civic Center.

How will the Civic Center project affect traffic?

Traffic impacts will be studied comprehensively in the environmental impact report that is being prepared as part of the CEQA process. A draft EIR is expected to be released in the spring/summer of 2018. The City and PPN will work to minimize traffic impacts. During the construction period industry best practices will be followed to reduce impacts and provide appropriate notice and signage for any impacts which are unavoidable. Neither the City nor PPN anticipate significant impacts not already estimated by the EIR performed for the Downtown Specific Plan.

Community Benefits: Jobs, Sustainability, Resilience, Affordable Housing

How can local construction workers and trades get involved with the Civic Center project?

The Civic Center construction project will be subject to the City of Napa’s policies regarding prevailing wages, local business participation and employment, pre-qualifications for particular building trades, and contract awards.

Will the Civic Center be environmentally sustainable?

Yes. The design and construction of the building will integrate sustainable building methods, systems and materials, with the goal of meeting LEED Gold standards.

Will the Civic Center be resilient in the event of a natural disaster or critical emergency?

The new Civic Center will meet or exceed all current building codes and other applicable standards, including the California Essential Services Act. The building will have backup power supply including a generator and on-site fuel to operate for at least 96 hours without access to grid power. In addition, the Civic Center will contain a modern Emergency Operations Center from which police, fire and other City personnel can provide coordinated response to natural disasters or other emergencies.

Will affordable housing be built as part of this project?

Yes, as part of the private development project on the Superblock, the developer will ensure that affordable housing units are built with the minimum number of units equivalent to 10% of the number of market rate units. In addition, the developer will be responsible for paying all impact fees, including affordable housing fees for the other components of the project (hotel and residential), or proposing alternative equivalents which will contribute to the construction of additional affordable housing. Currently the City is exploring off-site locations where affordable housing can be built.

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