Napa Quake 1 Year Later: Rebuilding the City’s Historical Buildings

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NAPA-

One year ago today, a 6.0 earthquake destroyed the city of Napa. Many of its historical buildings in downtown tumbled down.

While some are almost ready for a grand re-opening, others have not been touched at all.

Mike Desimoni is the owner of the iconic Alexandria building.

Photographs of its dangling roof circulated around the world last year.

Since then, Desimoni has made it his mission to fix his building as quickly as possible, while working with the Historical Society to maintain the historical integrity of the building.

So far, construction has cost him $1.6 million to repurpose the materials, re-engineer the building, update everything to code and create custom bricks.

"We did a lot of repurposing older materials to put back on the building to keep its historical nature," Desimoni said.

Meanwhile, directly across the street, Napa's Historical Courthouse remains red-tagged.

"What we are waiting on really, a conversation with FEMA to get the approval to go in and do the shoring work," Napa County Information Officer Kristi Jourdan said.

In other words, reconstruction work has not even started. Only a handful of people have gone inside the building since the quake to do preliminary inspections.

So far, FEMA has allocated $760,000 to Napa County -- much of that going to roads, bridges, and other structures.

Court operations have been moved to the new courthouse down the street, while the old one just sits with bracing and weather wrap -- a big difference to private construction projects like Alexandria square.

"They have those business funds, and here we have to be good stewards with the resources that the taxpayers provide us," Jourdan said.

The county does not know when or how much fixing the building will cost. But for the Alexandria building, it's all about business.

"I have renters, I have people that need to get back in and get their rides going," Desimoni said. "The courthouse ... You can have court in a trailer if they really want to!"

The Alexandria building missed it's one-year deadline, but they plan to take down all the scaffolding, and have a grad re-opening by the end of September.