From new luxury condos and renovated hotels, to revamped shopping hubs and innovative co-working spaces, 2016 saw promising development and redevelopment across Lake Tahoe’s South Shore — and 2017 should be no different.
“I believe there’s been a much needed mentality shift that’s focused on small business and larger infrastructure projects that celebrate our natural attributes and culture of being an outdoor recreation-based mountain town,” said Scott Fair, director of NAI Tahoe Sierra, a commercial real estate company.
Fair was involved with many of these projects that hit the South Shore in 2016, including the remodeled Coachman Hotel, Lake House Restaurant and the new Tahoe Mountain Lab space, to name a few.
“I do believe technology has had a large part to play in this trend by allowing small businesses such as Corey Rich Productions, TechGearLab, members of Tahoe Mountain Lab and other small businesses to relocate and redevelop here, thus diversifying our economy and community,” added Fair.
Local entrepreneurs Corey Rich and Chris McNamara are currently in the process of redeveloping an office space on Ski Run Boulevard to house staff for Rich’s production company and McNamara’s outdoor and technology review websites. The duo hopes to raise the bar on architectural design on a budget, while turning Ski Run into another business hub for the South Shore.
Tahoe Mountain Lab also reopened in its new larger location in the old Tribune building, and took another big step in launching a second location at Heavenly Mountain Resort.
It’s a movement that Fair predicts will continue into 2017.
“In 2017 I’m most excited to see this trend continue attracting businesses in the arts like High Vibe Society Artisan Collective and Rise Designs; gastronomy, including the new brewery scene; entrepreneurship through small business; and recreation via businesses like TahoeLab Skis and Boards, Blue Granite Climbing Gym, and groups like TAMBA [Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association] that really define who we are as a community,” continued Fair.
Combined with larger infrastructure projects slated for completion this year — like Edgewood Tahoe’s new resort, the combination of two hotels into Joie de Vivre’s new Hotel Beckett, and Barton Health’s Robert Maloff Center of Excellence — there is a lot to look forward to.
Steve Teshara, interim CEO for the bi-state Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce, points to environmentally beneficial redevelopment projects that kicked off this past year as part of the city of South Lake Tahoe’s Tahoe Valley Area Plan.
“These include redevelopment of the former factory stores at the Y into The Crossing; the start of work on creation of the ‘Greenbelt’ — transforming a section of the city’s stormwater system into a greenbelt that features trail connections and multi-faceted recreation amenities and open space; and several smaller commercial projects (the recently-approved Blue Granite Climbing Gym, for example),” noted Teshara.
A new South Shore brewery, Lake Tahoe AleWorX, is one of the businesses slated to open in The Crossing; the other tenants are expected to be announced soon.
“Economic conditions were more favorable in 2016. It was apparent that more people were interested in making investments throughout the South Shore,” said Teshara.
Other development projects of note, he said, are a handful of housing projects that kicked off in 2016 — such as the start of construction at the Tahoe Beach Club — and others that are scheduled to wrap up in 2017 — like the Zalanta Resort at the Village, a whole ownership condominium project.
Though no construction of affordable housing was started in 2016, Teshara pointed to the housing commitment by Tahoe Transportation District through the U.S. 50/South Shore Community Revitalization Project and the increased leadership on this issue by St. Joseph’s Community Land Trust.
Continued capital improvements at Lake Tahoe Community College, a growing interest in creating a makerspace, mobility and safety improvements in the Meyers community, and the new city rec center — now possible since the passage of Measure P in November — are just a handful of enhancements to look forward to in 2017, according to Teshara.
Craig Woodward, a Realtor for Deb Howard & Co. and a city planning commissioner, agreed that commercial development on the South Shore is “booming.”
Woodward pointed to many of the projects already mentioned, but also noted that there are still issues local agencies need to work out in the development process — something he has experienced first-hand.
During his work with the Knights Inn Project, which sought to turn an aging motel and empty lot into a new shopping center featuring Whole Foods’ new 365 store, Woodward was faced with systematic issues in the development process.
“The problem with commodities pricing and their effect on building costs must be dealt with,” said Woodward. “In addition, the Knights Inn proposed project has indicated a lack of communication and focus between the agencies. If a project has a net benefit to the community and to the environment, it should be approved.”
At present, the future of this project is uncertain due to hitches in funding and the sale of the property.
Despite a successful year in development, newly appointed Mayor Austin Sass also asserts that the process in the Tahoe Basin still needs work.
“The TRPA is working on revising the development rights with completion sometime late in 2018. There is high awareness and a strong desire to make things easier on the part of the TRPA,” said Sass.
“The best way to achieve environmental and economic improvements is through redevelopment. The work of the Development Rights Working Group, a subcommittee of the TRPA, in addressing commodities will be the most critical policy development in the Tahoe Basin over the next two years.”