A “temporarily closed” sign appeared on the door of Copia two weeks ago and on Monday the non-profit cultural center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The question now: Is this just another chapter in the long Copia saga or is the end finally near?
We may learn more on Friday when a judge for the United States Bankruptcy Court in Santa Rosa is scheduled to hear its first motions from Copia’s attorney.
Copia officials say they plan to reorganize, but have been vague on the details. The initial court filing lists 55 pages of creditors and liabilities of more than $50 million. For the first stage of reorganization, Copia has secured a $2 million loan to help open its doors once again.
In recent months, Copia officials said they would sell the 12-acre property and building in downtown Napa, with hopes of leasing back space while at the same time retiring Copia’s debt. Those are lofty ambitions for an institute in financial turmoil.
The cash-strapped center for wine, food and the arts has been teetering on financial failure for years, losing millions. For all its good intentions, it may well be remembered as one of those concepts that seemed like a visionary idea at the time, but never really struck.
It was Robert Mondavi’s dream to pay tribute to his love of wine, food and the arts by building the center in Napa’s Oxbow District along the Napa River.
He put up millions to get the project started and many other organizations contributed. But almost from its inception, it struggled, beginning with its opening, right after Sept. 11, 2001. Hopes for a revival in this economy seem dim. Given the current fiscal turmoil and difficulty obtaining capital in this country, one wonders if a long-term rescue will be found anytime soon.
I’ve always had my doubts about Copia. It was ahead of its time in Napa. This city is undergoing a renaissance, but it is still in an evolutionary stage and won’t be mature for many more years.
Copia never really defined what it stood for, despite some creative ideas, shows and performances. For a time it had perhaps Napa’s best restaurant in Julia’s Kitchen. Alas, it never turned that most important corner—the financial one.
Dennis D Bishop — Shelby Twp., MI, USA — December 2, 2008 7:23pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — December 2, 2008 7:38pm ET
James T Vitelli — Connecticut — December 3, 2008 9:43am ET
John Fujii — Stockton, CA — December 3, 2008 12:44pm ET
John Shuey — Carrollton, TX — December 4, 2008 10:24am ET
Bernard Kruithof — San Antonio, Texas — December 4, 2008 2:15pm ET
Horacio Campana / Butler Me — Monterrey, Mexico — December 6, 2008 8:42pm ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions