Diverse development at South Tahoe highlights 2017 successes, 2018 opportunities
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Coming off an eventful 2016, development on Lake Tahoe’s South Shore has continued at a steady clip this past year with projects ranging from hotel renovations and healthcare centers to shopping centers and luxury housing.
At the beginning of 2017, the revamped Hotel Becket opened in South Lake Tahoe. Under the vision of boutique hotel chain Joie de Vivre, the Park Tahoe Inn and 968 Park Tahoe were combined into one lodging with a focus on modern-meets-rustic design.
On the other side of Stateline, Edgewood Tahoe completed its $100 million lodge in June. Nearly 25 years in the making, the 154-room lodge, which broke ground in October 2015, has been praised not only for its mountain modern architecture, but the environmental improvements that went into the project.
The project resulted in “an increase of 32,766 square feet of stream environment zone, a major reduction in fine sediment pollution, and an estimated 33 percent reduction in phosphorus and nitrogen loading from the area,” said Tom Lotshaw, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency spokesman.
TRPA granted the project a Best in Basin award for the environmental work that was voluntarily implemented using private funding.
Along with the creation of new lodging, there was also the demolition of an old motel. The Knights Inn, located near the corner of U.S. 50 and Ski Run Boulevard, was torn down this year , making way for the construction of Bijou Marketplace. Whole Foods 365 will anchor the shopping center; the businesses occupying the other spaces have not yet been announced.
Farther down U.S. 50, the former Factory Stores at the Y underwent a drastic remodel and reopened as The Crossing at Tahoe Valley. The outdoor mall has become a hub for community events co-hosted by tenants like Lake Tahoe AleWorX, OMNI, Elevate Wellness, Verde Mexican Rotisserie and more.
South Lake Tahoe Development Services Director Kevin Fabino praised the shopping center for its new design.
“Several years ago [the city] passed the new design guidelines and those have been extremely valuable, coupled with the area plans, to guide and direct development not only in terms of location, but its physical appearance as it comes out of the ground,” said Fabino.
Harrison Avenue is another retail hub that saw its fair share of changes this year. The former Rude Brothers and South Tahoe Standup Paddle locations were demolished and rebuilt into two modern spaces now housing a two-story sports bar, Pick 6 Sports Lounge, and The Morning After, a café opening at the end of January.
After the roof collapsed at the Green Tahoe Market and Liquor Store last January due to snow, the entire Pioneer Center, also on Harrison Avenue, is getting a facelift.
“Development goes as the economy goes. We have been very busy the last two years and it will hopefully continue that way,” added Fabino.
Two projects made possible by sizable donations from local philanthropist Lisa Maloff made significant progress this year. Barton Health’s Robert Maloff Center of Excellence, a 26,000-square-foot facility focusing on orthopedics, rehabilitation, sports performance and wellness, is nearing completion. Maloff donated $10 million for this project in honor of her late husband.
In June, Lake Tahoe Community College broke ground on a 7,000-square-foot university center made possible thanks to a $5.8 million donation from Maloff. LTCC administration says the new center will open up opportunities for additional four-year programming at the college. The building is expected to be completed this fall.
Entertainment- and recreation-centric development progressed on the South Shore over the past year.
Blue Granite Climbing Gym is in the process of erecting the building for its all-skills climbing gym on Emerald Bay Road, which should be up and running this spring.
On the other end of the South Shore, Round Hill Pines Beach Resort began construction in October on a new dock and breakwater, along with a refurbished restaurant and beach pavilion.
Also on the Nevada side, Douglas County commissioners approved a 1-percent increase to the Tahoe Township Transient Occupancy Tax to fund feasibility studies for an all-season events and performance center in Stateline next to MontBleu Casino. TRPA announced this January that it’s seeking comments from the public on the proposed project.
There was no shortage of luxury housing projects in 2017.
Zalanta Resort at the Village completed construction on its 30 luxury condos across from the Heavenly Gondola in May. Two months later, another high-end housing project, Gondola Vista Estates, kicked off right next to the lift and Van Sickle Bi-State Park. Twenty units in 10 buildings are going up quickly on the 3.4-acre property.
Work on the Tahoe Beach Club, a 143-condominium community with a private beach and club house, is plugging along with the first residences expected to be completed in the coming months. The remaining buildings will be constructed over the next two years with a total project completion date of 2020. Tahoe Beach Club says it racked up more than $85 million in home sales this past summer.
Amid a surge in construction of high-end housing, there was a noticeable lack of progress made in affordable and workforce housing.
Though the development of affordable housing was a key topic at the inaugural Tahoe Economic Summit put on by Tahoe Prosperity Center in October, no projects got off the ground this year on the South Shore.
The failed sale of the long-closed Kingsbury Middle School to the Glenbrook-based developer Lake Parkway LLC halted plans to build 420 units of affordable housing on the parcel.
But there is still hope.
The Tahoe Transportation District announced that there is potential for 200 or more units of housing to be created in conjunction with the U.S. 50 South Shore Community Revitalization Project (the Loop Road Project).
In its proposed realignment of U.S. 50 around the casino corridor, between 68 and 76 residences could be torn down. TTD has committed to a no net-loss of housing and will replace those homes, of which more than 50 would qualify as deed-restricted affordable.
However, last April TTD District Manager Carl Hasty said that multiple developers have approached him about building housing beyond the minimum commitment the agency has already made. One proposal expressed interest in developing 120 units down by the Y, while another saw the potential for 142 units on the proposed project site.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.