Napa County’s luxurious Meadowood Napa Valley resort is preparing for its rebirth following the devastation of the Glass Fire that caused an estimated $100 million worth of damage there.
The southern part of the resort tucked into the hills east of St. Helena was largely undamaged by the fire. Meadowood has announced it hopes to reopen the cottages, pool, tennis courts and other amenities in that area after March 31.
But the northern section is another story. Among other things, the Glass Fire reduced to rubble the clubhouse that was home to a three-star Michelin restaurant and destroyed more than 50 rooms.
“We look forward to working with the county and you in partnership to rebuild even better and brighter than before,” Resort Managing Director David Pearson told the Napa County Board of Supervisors last week.
Supervisors directed staff to negotiate possible terms of a development agreement between the county and Meadwood Resort LLC to hasten the rebuilding. They also instructed staff to work with Meadowood on the temporary accommodation of facilities lost to the fire.
In a letter to the county, Pearson said the fire caused more than $100 million in property damage. The resort this year laid off 500 employees between the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure after this year’s wildfires.
“Meadowood will not be able to rehire these employees until it can reopen the property or portions thereof,” he wrote.
Between 2015 and 2019, Meadowood generated nearly $20 million in tax revenues for the county. Most of this revenue will not return until the resort can reopen and rebuild, Pearson wrote.
A development agreement will expedite the repair, restoration and rehabilitation of the resort, he wrote. It will provide for the timing and phasing of replacement structures, along with the timing and phasing to reopen portions of the resort less impacted by fire.
Meadowood could temporarily have its clubhouse and other activities at The Napa Valley Reserve winery, which is part of Meadowood Estate and has the same owners. Such activities would not require new buildings, Pearson wrote.
The development agreement once negotiated with county staff, must go to the Planning Commission and then to the Board of Supervisors for approval.
“I think we are dealing with tough times and this is a tough one,” Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza said. “I know we’re trying to do the right thing by supporting those folks who want to do business in our community.”
Pearson said Meadowood has been a club, resort, community center and wine education center for nearly 60 years.
Freeman Nicholls began developing Meadowood in the early 1960s, according to The Napa Register newspapers from that era. The community was conceived to have five subdivisions, a golf course, an Olympic-size swimming pool, hiking trails, tennis courts and a gourmet restaurant.
Meadowood opened in 1964 on 285 acres. The resort in 1979 sold to a company that included William Harlan, who remains an owner today.
This isn’t the first time the resort has been damaged by fire. In May 1984, the clubhouse burned until only the chimney and charred timbers remained. It had been undergoing a $500,000 remodel and expansion that was a month from completion.
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