The demolition of the former Dodge Chrysler building at 333 Soscol Avenue took many of Napa’s citizens by surprise. NCL is currently investigation if and how the regulatory processes were properly followed and we will report any discoveries.
This letter was sent to the City Council as well as published in the Napa Valley Register . . .
“November 23, 2020
City of Napa, City Council
1600 First Street
Napa, CA 94559
RE: 333 Soscol Avenue, Napa, CA
Napa County Landmarks (NCL) is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the appreciation and preservation of historic buildings, sites and districts through educational programs, public policy, research and technical assistance.
We have learned from the recent publication in the Napa Valley Register of the proposal to construct a Kohl’s Department store on the site of the former Chrysler – Jeep dealership at 333 Soscol Ave.
On this site, the modern “Googie” style building was evaluated for historical significance in the Soscol Gateway/East Napa Survey, performed in 2009; which was subsequently adopted by the City Council. The survey recommended the building eligible for local listing. This information, which is available on the city of Napa’s website, indicates that the building qualifies as a historical resource under CA Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) . We would expect planning personnel to have conveyed this information to the applicant at the very start of discussions about this project, but fear that the historic status of this building may have somehow fallen through the cracks.
Our concerns have prompted us to submit this letter to the City Council since demolition of this historical resource appears may be imminent.
Our report states the building at 333 Soscol Avenue is a dramatic Googie style structure, with a large showroom at the front and service wing at the rear. It reflects the forms, massing, and layout typical of mid-century car dealerships, and its design and detailing are noteworthy.
The building does not appear to have been altered and remains as a prime example of this type and period of construction. The architect and builder are unknown. 333 Soscol Avenue is therefore significant under Criterion C/3 (Architecture) as an example of a Googie style car dealership.
The property appears to be eligible for local listing through survey evaluation, and an additional in-depth survey should be performed per CEQA for any development that affects this resource.
Based on this analysis that is contained in the Soscol Gateway and East Napa survey, the City is obligated to perform a full CEQA evaluation to determine its significance and set forth scenarios for possible retention or adaptive reuse. The city may assume that they satisfied this by requiring the new building to have a similar roof line, however a new building isn’t adequate mitigation for the loss of the resource. The replacement new building that has been constructed on a different parcel has no relation to this site.
For your further reference, we have attached the three (3) page report conducted by Paige & Turnbull, Inc. dated November 9, 2009.
Board President of Napa County Landmarks, Inc.”
Sadly another piece of Napa’s historical buildings is forever gone and we hope against the astonishing quick removal of other buildings having unique, era highlighting architecture without substantial notification.
NCL submitted a Letter to the Editor in the NVRegister which can be read here: