Weller Development buys planned Wine Country resort

Nearly 3,000-acre Aetna Springs project in Napa Valley trades for undisclosed sum

Weller Development Partners' Marc Weller and 1600 Aetna Springs Road, Pope Valley, Wine
Weller Development Partners' Marc Weller and 1600 Aetna Springs Road, Pope Valley (Weller Development, Getty, CBRE)

A nearly 3,000-acre planned resort in wine country has traded hands for an undisclosed amount. The Aetna Springs development was one of the last large-scale hospitality developments available in Napa Valley.

Maryland-based Weller Development Partners purchased the project from Mosaic Real Estate Investors with plans to move forward on the proposed development of an upscale resort with a focus on health and wellness.

Vineyard

1600 Aetna Springs Road in Pope Valley (CBRE)

The 2,870-acre project is located at 1600 Aetna Springs Road in Pope Valley. Plans include 70 guest cottages in a resort village, 18 luxury glamping sites, expansion of existing vineyards and the construction of estate homes. Additional plans include recreational activities on Lake Juliana, a full-service spa, recreation center, restaurants and boutique winery.

“Luxury resort properties have been among the strongest performers throughout the pandemic as travelers sought out high-end amenities in drive-to markets,” Jeff Woolson from CBRE, who represented the buyer and seller, said.

Aetna Springs originated in the 19th century and was best known for its mineral hot springs and outdoor activities. Currently the site of the project houses a nine-hole golf course, vineyards and 40 planned estate lots.

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Some smaller hospitality properties are currently on the market in wine country. Irvine-based Stratus Development Partners has listed two hotels in Napa and Sonoma a few years after they were built.

Hospitality development fell by 42 percent across California, according to a survey by consulting firm Atlas Hospitality. However, this was due to 2021 being an outlier in terms of development.

Entrance of Aetna Spring

1600 Aetna Springs Road in Pope Valley (CBRE)

“This was mainly due to the fact that many developers delayed opening their hotels in 2020 due to COVID-19, which helped artificially push up the number of rooms opened in 2021,” the report said. “2022 is recognized as having the fifth highest total in number of rooms opened since 2010.”

Similar to development, hospitality sales also took a dip in the Bay Area, according to Atlas.

Total dollar volume for hotels bought in the nine-county Bay Area during the first half of 2022 was nearly $661 million. That was down 66.8 percent from the $1.99 billion in hotel purchases during the first six months of 2021.