KINGS BEACH, Calif. — Tahoe Expedition Academy’s road toward realizing a lakefront school has hit another speed bump.
In order to construct a 15-classroom campus that includes a performing arts center and waterfront interpretation center, the private K-12 school planned to buy 1.4 acres of property off Highway 28 that includes the Crown Motel, Falcon Lodge and the roadside portion of the Goldcrest Resort.
An issue with the Falcon Lodge, however, will postpone those plans, said D.C. Larrabee, co-director of the adventure-based, experiential learning school.
John Rogers, an attorney with Incline Law Group, which is representing Falcon Lodge owner East Bay Investors, LLC, said the issue stems from the property’s title.
“East Bay Investors is attempting to resolve any outstanding title issues, and that may not happen for some time,” Rogers said.
East Bay Investors acquired the Falcon Lodge through a foreclosure action, he said. According to legal documents filed with Placer County Superior Court, foreclosure happened in November 2012.
However, Fredrick and Linda Hodgson, who bought the property in July 2000, are claiming wrongful foreclosure and that they are the current owners of the lodge. The matter is in litigation.
Until there’s a “clear title,” purchase of the Falcon and Crown has been put on hold along with other processes needed to move forward with the school, Larrabee said.
“We’re confident it will clear through, but when that will happen, who knows,” he said.
The Falcon property is intended for parking, while the Crown Motel would be remodeled to create the school.
“(The lodge is) a very fundamental piece of property,” Larrabee said, given the public’s traffic/parking concerns with having a school in the heart of Kings Beach.
That concern is shared by representatives on Placer County’s North Tahoe Design Review Committee, who’ve requested a traffic analysis for the project, Larrabee said. A change in land use also needs to be approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board.
“Our plan is to put everything on hold,” TEA board member Ken Martin said. “We won’t continue with additional expenditures until we have clarity on where we are.”
That includes purchase of the Crown Motel which, in the meantime, will continue normal operations.
“We’re hopeful that this will all work out and be able to move forward,” said Dave Ferrari, co-owner of the motel.
Originally, TEA hoped to break ground this spring to have the campus ready for Sept. 1. At this point, that timetable no longer applies, Larrabee said.
The academy has been looking for property for more than a year after outgrowing the facility it rents at 8651 Speckled Ave. Since opening in 2011, the school has gone from 74 students to 134, according to previous reports. The proposed campus is anticipated to serve up to 250 primary and secondary school students.
TEA announced the proposed campus in January, drawing a mixture of support and concern from community members.
The school has raised roughly $12 million for the project, which is expected to cover the cost of purchasing the land and remodeling.