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Report on Yountville

by Paul Franson of NapaLife - The Insider's Guide to Napa Valley

Photo courtesy of epodunk
The town of Yountville held a seminar Thursday to discuss how the town is doing.

The answer is, very well. It’s well known to be top-heavy in hotels and restaurants, and that means that three-quarters of its revenue comes from tourists. It will take in $4 million in transient occupancy tax from guests at hotels, and $0.8 million from sales tax. The TOT is the highest percentage of revenue for any city in California, 68 percent (Napa is 15 percent, St. Helena 20 percent and Calistoga 49 percent).

Interestingly, Yountville’s population is
shrinking, down about 10 percent from the year 2000, to 3,000 today. About 1,000 live in the Veterans Home.

Fully 20 percent of the homes are second homes, which isn’t so good for community spirit, but does reduce demand for schools and other services. Half the population is over 65 and it’s 90 percent white.

It has 13 restaurants with 1,423 seats, nine wine-tasting rooms, two wine bars and one bar (Pancha’s) and its 11 lodgings operations have 451 hotel rooms. The average room rate is $439 per night at peak season (October), half that in January.

78 percent of the sales tax comes from restaurants; there isn’t much else to buy, and the amount is up 30 percent since 2008.

Town Manager Steven Rogers confirms that Frank Altamura has active permits on file and is proceeding, albeit slowly, on Ciccio’s in the former Gordon’s restaurant site. This site has been shuttered six years.

Hillstone Co. will begin demolition and construction of the new restaurant in late April 2012. The proposed Vita in the former PJ Steakhouse site is potentially zoned for a restaurant although it has lost all of its former entitlements and the applicant would have to start from scratch.

In hotel news in Yountville, as reported here long ago, Hotel Luca is now the North Block Hotel.

Like Redd Wood pizzeria in the hotel, the hotel lobby has adopted an industrial-chic style by designer Erin Martin, abandoning the former Tuscan look.

It has 20 rooms, which start at $315 Sunday through Thursday, and $380 on Friday and Saturday.

Of course, George Altamura’s Yountville Inn recently expanded and became 80-room Hotel Yountville.

With all that revenue coming from tourists who stay in its hotels, it’s not surprising that other cities in Napa Valley plan more to allow more hotels and scoop up some more of the TOT.

Paul Franson is publisher of Paul Franson's NapaLife - The insider's guide for those who live in Napa Valley - or wish they did.

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