OCTOBER 11, 2019
Napa Valley Opera House Board of Trustees Announces
Sale of Historic Building
Local Napa Residents John & Michele Truchard to Purchase Property
October 11, 2019 Napa, CA – The Napa Valley Opera House Board of Trustees has announced the sale of the Napa Valley Opera House to second generation Napa residents, businesspeople and philanthropists John and Michele Truchard. The purchase agreement was signed on October 9, 2019 effectively putting the Opera House in escrow for purchase by the Truchards.
Prior to the purchase agreement, the historic Napa Valley Opera House, established in 1880 and restored in 2003, has been owned and operated by the Napa Valley Opera House, Inc., a non-profit organization that serves to preserve the historic building and support community access to the performing arts. As stewards of the Opera House, the Board of Trustees recognized the need to sell the building to ensure its long-term care and viability as a performing arts center.
“Ongoing preservation of the historic building, especially as an active performance venue, as well as paying the costs of a higher quality of community programming, was a continued financial challenge. Currently, the Napa Valley Opera House Board of Trustees has identified nearly $600,000 in deferred maintenance and capital improvements. John and Michele Truchard as new owners not only ensures that the physical property will be maintained at the highest level, but the Opera House will continue to exist as a performing arts center, which was our primary goal,” said D.J. Smith, Chair, Napa Valley Opera House Board of Trustees. “We couldn't be happier with this outcome. John and Michele are the absolute best choice to continue the legacy of this important piece of Napa Valley history.”
The sale provides a secondary big win for the community as proceeds will be put into a permanent endowment that will support performing arts locally, including youth programs, potentially doubling what is currently spent in the county on the arts. Upon establishment of this endowment, the Napa Valley Opera House Board of Trustees will conduct a performing arts needs assessment, set goals and build a road map to determine the best and highest use of the endowment funds which will serve the needs of the community, with a special focus on the use of the Opera House.
The Napa Valley Opera House Board of Trustees was very diligent in coming to its agreement with the Truchards, owners that respect and are excited about the original mission of the building. Additionally John Truchard requested and the Board approved a deed restriction to ensure all future owners will protect the registered historic aspects of the Opera House and continue its use for performing arts.
As for the Opera House’s current master tenant, Blue Note Napa, the lease continues and no changes to their upcoming shows or services are anticipated. Blue Note Napa, which is a thriving key addition to Napa’s downtown culture, will continue to be a collaborative partner in providing community access and will remain the master building tenant, including operating the downstairs jazz club and the upstairs JaM Cellars Ballroom. They are enthusiastic about working with the Truchards to maintain and upgrade the building.
“When Michele and I first learned of the Board’s search for a private owner, we were intrigued,” said John Truchard. “As multi-generational members of the Napa Valley community, we felt strongly that the Opera House’s best and highest use is as a performing arts center. We are grateful to have our vision shared by the Board and take over as custodians of the property.”
Previous to purchasing the Napa Valley Opera House, John and Michele Truchard, proprietors of John Anthony Family of Wines (comprising John Anthony Vineyards, FARM Napa Valley by John Anthony and JaM Cellars), purchased and restored the historic York Mansion on Jefferson Street in downtown Napa, as well as The Beazley House Bed & Breakfast, currently under restoration in downtown Napa.
_________ ### _____________
NOVEMBER 1, 2018
Napa Valley Opera House’s Next Chapter Includes Plans for Endowment with Proceeds from Strategic Partnership or Sale of the Historic Site
The Board of Trustees of the Napa Valley Opera House plans to form a community performing arts endowment to provide consistent annual funding for arts in the Napa Valley if a strategic partner willing to purchase the Opera House in a partnership format comes forward in the coming months. This decision stems from years of providing community programming at the historic Main Street site in Napa, while also maintaining the building. The Board is finding it more and more difficult to fund diverse programming at the level we would like.
“It’s an exciting and bittersweet time for us,” said DJ Smith, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Owning and maintaining the property while simultaneously attempting to produce community performing arts has not proved to be sustainable. We believe we can be successful by creating an endowment from a strategic partnership or the proceeds of a sale, to provide non-profit art organizations with much needed funds for programming.” Funds from either option would provide the foundation for the Board to create an endowment to support a diverse performing arts programs in perpetuity.
The Opera House has two performing arts levels. On the first floor, our tenant Blue Note Napa has successfully found a formula that brings world class musical talent to Napa. “We are thrilled with the Blue Note Napa’s success and its contribution to our culture. The phenomenal acts along with good cuisine has been a winner for the Opera House and for Napa Valley”, said Smith. The second floor of the Opera House is the JaM Cellars Ballroom which has undergone many transformations. Prior Boards have tried several business models they hoped would be financially profitable but nothing has proved sustainable. Once the seats were removed, the ballroom had the flexibility to be configured into various performance set ups and the Ballroom finally found some success. Now, meetings, events, fundraisers along with concerts, plays and other performing arts can be held at the Opera House. While the transformation into a Ballroom has helped, revenues from those events are not keeping up with the costs to maintain the building. “We would love to do some remodeling and upgrading but its not in the cards for us”, said Smith. “The revenue from our upstairs doesn’t bring in the dollars we need to upgrade the premises or underwrite a full program of quality performances.”
He added, “We want local folks to know that the historic parts of the 1890 Opera House will be preserved in any agreement with a strategic partner going forward and that we will also maintain our rights to produce a healthy number of performing art events aimed at serving our Napa Valley community.”
“This is why the endowment is so exciting and is the appropriate next chapter for us. We believe the building is an opportunity for someone to create a great venue space while the Board will have the opportunity to provide the funding for local programs and acts that might not otherwise be able to come to the Valley, a win/win,” said Smith adding that, “We are confident with the right strategic partner or new owner, we can provide the community with much needed performing arts funding while maintaining this historic treasure.”
The local commercial real estate firm of Strong & Hayden has been retained by the Board to secure proposals for this partnership that could include a sale of the building, option to purchase, or other innovative partnership options that specifically meet the Board’s goals and keep this historic jewel operational for future generations. To learn more about this legacy property should contact Michael Holcomb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions addressed to the Board of Trustees should be directed to Pam Simpson at email@example.com.