Napa's Copia facility still in limbo

April L. Dowd photo

From the North Bay (CA) Business Journal

NAPA, CA -- More than a year after Copia: The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, filed for Chapter 11 protection with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Rosa, its future is still up in the air.

Copia opened its doors on Nov. 1, 2001, and closed them for good on Nov. 21, 2008, after a tumultuous seven-year run. Built at an initial cost of $55 million, and with major funding from Robert Mondavi and family, the non-profit center lost more than $4 million a year and never attracted the numbers of ticket buyers, memberships or donations forecast in its business plan.

"We are still evaluating possible options for Copia," said a spokesman for Alvarez Marsal LLC, the New York City-based real estate firm retained to market the property. "Some alternatives that have been considered include leasing part of the complex and selling other segments, but no final decision has been reached."

The vision of Copia’s founders was that it would be all things to all people when it came to discovering, understanding and celebrating wine, food and the arts in American culture. It was billed as a cultural museum and educational center, but it was much more. It housed a rare books library, a 74-seat demonstration kitchen, wine tasting table, a gourmet restaurant named for Julia Child, a cafe, gift shop, a 3.5 acre flower and organic edible garden, an event venue with 13,000 square feet of gallery space for exhibitions, a 260-seat theater and also boasted an outdoor concert terrace with seating for 700 plus 341 parking spaces.

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