A Santa Rosa bankruptcy judge on Friday approved liquidation of Copia, the defunct wine, food and arts center in downtown Napa, setting the stage for the property?s sale.
Bidders have until Nov. 12 to submit proposals, said Stephen Nuzzolo, spokesman for Alvarez & Marsal, a real estate advisor handling the sale for Copia?s bond insurer.
He wouldn?t comment on a report that the Food Network, a New York-based cable TV channel, is interested in purchasing Copia for its West Coast studio. The Food Network couldn?t be reached for comment Friday.
More than one bid has already been submitted for the property and additional offers are expected before time runs out next Thursday, he said.
?There?s been significant interest,? Nuzzolo said.
A Napa group has said it intended to submit a bid and the Culinary Institute of America, which has a cooking school in St. Helena, has said it was interested in leasing part of the site.
Various groups have proposed using it for a hotel, shops, conference center or visitor center.
Copia, also known as the American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, shut its doors a year ago after running out of cash. The nonprofit cultural center founded by the late Napa vintner Robert Mondavi declared bankruptcy in December.
Friday?s action by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Alan Jaroslovsky means the nonprofit corporation will be dissolved. Its largest creditor received permission Friday to proceed with its plans to sell the property and attempt to recoup some of the money it loaned to Copia.
Named for the Roman goddess of abundance, Copia opened in 2001 following a $25 million endowment from Mondavi. The center on the Napa River featured wine and food classes, art exhibits, performance space, gardens and Julia?s Kitchen, an upscale restaurant named for legendary chef Julia Child.
It attracted more than a million visitors a year but struggled financially, losing more than $5 million annually. Copia was hampered by a hard-to-find location, lack of retail options and a vague mission, according to bankruptcy documents.
The holders of $78 million in Copia bonds will share proceeds from the property?s sale. The 17-acre complex is now worth $25 to $35 million, according to estimates in court filings.
Friday?s court ruling also will allow Copia?s employees and vendors to be paid. Unsecured creditors are expected to get about 13 cents on the dollar.
The property includes a 78,000-square-foot museum building, 270-seat theater, library, classrooms, demonstration kitchen, cafe and gift shop.
The city of Napa zoned the site for commercial mixed-use, including visitor-serving facilities.