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Historic Napa Valley resort is bought; guest homes, winery are eyed

NAPA — RH, also known as Restoration Hardware, has bought a historic Napa Valley resort property in a deal that underscores the retailer’s gambit to diversify far beyond its core business of upscale home furnishings.

Napa Soda Springs, a famous property that’s home to a one-time resort that dates back to 1856, has been bought by RH, Gary Friedman, the company’s chief executive officer, disclosed this week in a conference call with Wall Street analysts to discuss RH’s second-quarter financial results.

The Napa Valley site was bought for $25 million by an affiliate linked to RH, according to documents filed on July 1 with the Napa County Recorder’s Office. The property purchase was posted in a database of real estate transactions.

“We just closed on 856 acres in the Napa Valley,” Friedman said. “It’s probably the most beautiful property in all of Napa. We own that.” When the property was listed for sale in 2019, the size was estimated at 857 acres.

Ruins at the Napa Soda Springs Resort. 

At the time of the purchase, the buying group obtained a $26.2 million loan from an entity called RH Corp., the county documents and database records show.

Located east of the Silverado Trail and north of the city of Napa, on the edges of the area’s main wineries, the property still contains ruins of the old resort, including the remnants of a castle-like rotunda and other crumbling structures.

Ambitious plans are in the works for the historic old resort, the RH CEO said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts to discuss the company’s recent financial results.

“It still has the ruins. It’s where we’ll build a guest house and residences and a winery,” Friedman said of the Napa Soda Springs property during the conference call. “We have some of the best soil in all of the Napa Valley.”

Organic farms might be part of the revamped property, according to Friedman.

Portion of the Rotunda building ruins at the Napa Soda Springs Resort. 

The just-bought property is one of Napa Valley’s largest contiguous parcels of land.

The first resort hotel opened on the Napa Soda Springs property in 1856. In 1877, a formal ball introduced the just-opened Rotunda buildings to guests. By 1881, the Soda Springs Resort had opened to overnight guests.

During the early 20th century, with the onset of Prohibition and the disruption of World War I, the Soda Springs Resort’s popularity waned. The resort, though, continued to sell Napa Soda extracted from springs on the site.

A fire roared through the property in the 1940s, although the soda bottling plant survived. A second fire sometime in the 1960s ruined the remaining buildings.

Despite the fires, remnants of the Rotunda and other intriguing structures survive to this day.

A ruined building at the Napa Soda Springs Resort near Napa. 

The property is close to world-class and famous wineries along the Silverado Trail and the main roads through the Napa Valley, as well as an array of upscale restaurants and lodgings.

Corte Madera-based RH has launched or is about to launch guest homes in some of the nation’s premier destinations.

In New York City’s Manhattan borough, the company recently opened RH Guesthouse, which features six bedrooms, three suites, and Fredman’s private residence, which occupies the entire top floor. The private residence is sometimes available for booking.

Each of the rooms and suites in RH Guesthouse include two full bathrooms, a freshly stocked gourmet pantry, an in-room fitness center, and exclusive use of the private rooftop garden, pool, and dining terrace. RH Guesthouse is located in Manhattan’s famed Meatpacking District.

Rooftop terrace and swimming pool at RH Guesthouse, 55 Gansevoort St. in New York City. (RH Guesthouse)
Rooftop terrace and swimming pool at RH Guesthouse, 55 Gansevoort St. in New York City. 

A luxury destination resort in Colorado is also in line for an RH Guesthouse.

“We already have a second one teed up in Aspen,” Friedman said on the conference call.

RH appears to also be eyeing a metamorphosis of its property in Napa.

The retailer intends to transform the old Napa Soda Springs Resort into one of the crown jewels of its widening real estate empire.

“We’ll build an experience the world has never seen,” Friedman said.

Napa Soda Springs Resort ruins, including the old Rotunda building. 
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