A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Wednesday, May 9 on the Northeast corner of the Justin-Siena campus. We had a great gathering of Lasallian, school, and community leaders including include Mayor Jill Techel, City Council members, Planning Commission members, and City staff.
Eileen Mize, Director of Communications
In his remarks at the ceremony, Justin-Siena President David Holquin provided some history as to the various development activity on this land over the 51-year history of the school and cited the De La Salle Christian Brothers’ spirit of innovation and excellence and a long commitment to the Napa community, having first arrived in Napa in the early 1900s with pioneering contributions to the winemaking industry. “Perhaps you’ve heard of the Christian Brothers wine or brandy or the legendary Napa winemaker Br. Timothy Diener?” he quizzed the gathered crowd. “It was fertile land, literally and figuratively, that brought the Brothers to Napa in the early part of the last century. They found success in working the land—turning grapes into wine—to fund expansion of their educational ministries, and they worked hearts to deliver a quality, Lasallian Catholic education regardless of ability to pay. It is in that same spirit of access to education that we partner with Oppidan and embark on this new journey.”
In welcoming the school’s newest neighbors, President Holquin also noted the Justin-Siena’s commitment to the Napa community from its very inception from serving the youth to graduating service-oriented citizens making significant contributions in our local community and beyond. He continued, “Our motto at Justin-Siena is ‘Sempre Avanti’ meaning always forward, and so it is with the Christian Brothers’ signature sense of hospitality we welcome our newest neighbors and eagerly embark on a partnership that benefits not only the students of Justin-Siena, but also the greater Napa community.
Shovels were turned, and dirt was ceremoniously tossed to make way for a 173-unit senior housing project called Watermark on the northeast portion of our campus. Taking advantage of our blessing of acreage, this long-term land lease will go a long way in ensuring access to a Catholic, college-preparatory education for future generations of Braves, as is a main commitment of the De La Salle Christian Brothers. This development is a “win-win” for everyone as Mayor Techel noted in her remarks. The citizens of Napa have shared their desire for a senior living option befitting the Napa Valley and Justin-Siena and the developers have listened. Oppidan Investment Company, a national property development firm headquartered in Excelsior, Minn., brought forth the idea of an innovative senior living community in Napa Valley, and the community is thrilled.
The Watermark at Napa Valley, a 195,000-square foot senior housing community, will be located on nearly 6 acres of the Justin-Siena High School campus on Solano Avenue. The community will feature contemporary California design and architecture, with influences of the rustic yet sophisticated French farmhouse style that invites a comfortable indoor/outdoor lifestyle. The community will offer 151 independent and assisted living apartments, as well as 22 residences specially designed for those who can benefit from a secure, residential-styled environment with cutting-edge memory care programming.
Floor plans range from studio suites to 2 bedroom residences. The campus, filled throughout with lush gardens and courtyards, will feature world-class common area amenities including a theater, chapel, library, clubrooms and a full-service spa. A wellness center, with indoor and outdoor spaces, will offer a rich variety of wellness, movement and exercise classes.
Even with the high-end features, extraordinary programming and exquisite setting, the calling card for this community will be its cuisine. Residents of The Watermark at Napa Valley will enjoy several dining venues, including a formal dining room with floor-to-ceiling sliding windows, a bistro, a wine bar and a coffee bar. Residents and their guests will enjoy chef-prepared, award-winning recipes by Rebecca Katz of Healing Kitchens. These selections featuring locally sourced, healthy and tasty culinary creations will shatter preconceived notions and expectations of cuisine in a retirement living setting.
“One of our core values at Oppidan is to enhance the lives of the people who live and work in the areas in which we develop,” said Joe Ryan, Oppidan CEO. “When the citizens of Napa expressed a need for extraordinary senior housing rather than a commercial-retail development, we happily came to the table with our ideas and possibilities. The Napa Valley residents were thrilled, and we are excited to share this monumental groundbreaking event with the public.”
The project’s general contractor is Deacon Construction, the civil engineer is RSA and architect is SmithGroup JJR. The building will be operated by Watermark Retirement Communities, a nationally-recognized innovator in senior living. The project is planned to open in the first quarter of 2020. Watermark operates over 50 senior housing communities nationwide.
Justin-Siena’s vision for this partnership includes an educational component as well. President Holquin shared, “As educators, we see everything as a learning opportunity. With the new senior housing imagine one of our engineering students talking with a resident who used to work for NASA Ames. Or our arts program sharing their talents, or one of the seniors rooting on OUR seniors on the football field. Having a senior residence in close proximity to our campus has many opportunities. In addition, it is our hope that the vibrancy of a high school will keep senior residents active and engaged. There is such synergy and learning potential for all!”
More About Oppidan
Since 1991, Oppidan Investment Company has been providing development, construction and project management, asset management, and investment services to the retail, industrial, commercial, residential, senior housing and mixed-use markets. The firm has successfully developed more than 450 projects spanning a total of 15.8 million-square feet in 35 states and Canada with a total value of more than $3.0 billion. Oppidan’s client list includes Duluth Trading Company, Ebenezer, Northern Tool, Camping World, Cub, Sprouts, GE Oil & Gas, Goodwill, Orchard Supply Hardware, and more. To learn more about Oppidan, visit www.oppidan.com
About Watermark Retirement Communities, Inc.
Watermark’s commitment to creating innovative and extraordinary communities where people thrive® dates back to 1987, when it opened its first retirement community. In 2017, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) ranked Tucson-based Watermark Retirement Communities as the nation’s 15th leading seniors housing operator. Watermark is a privately held company with a reputation for service, innovation, integrity and financial stability. To learn more about Watermark, visit www.watermarkcommunities.com