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Napa: Copia wine centre sold to development firm

Napa’s ill-fated former Copia wine centre has been sold and is a step closer to redevelopment, possibly including a presence for the Culinary Institute of America.

The Copia wine centre in Napa. Image credit: Wikipedia / Flickr / Simon Davison

ACA Financial Guaranty Corporation, the body which insures the bonds which funded Copia, has agreed to sell the 17-acre site to Seattle-based Triad Development, which plans a ‘mixed use’ including housing and retail.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that there might also be space for the Culinary Institute of America, with ACA stating that Triad was selected for its ‘vision for respecting the culinary legacy of Copia’.

The redevelopment, which could cost as much as $150m, will take between three and five years.

Copia, also known as the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, opened in 2001 with an initial US$25m tranche of funding from the Mondavi family.

The complex housed a museum, library and demonstration kitchen, but ran into financial trouble in the aftermath of 9/11, the collapse of the dotcom bubble and the slowdown of the US economy.

Visitor numbers halved and the centre began incurring losses of about $5m per year, before finally closing in November 2008.

Copia filed for bankruptcy shortly afterwards and was placed in liquidation in November 2009, at which point court documents suggested the site was worth an estimated $35m.

Written by Richard Woodard

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