Partial Chateau project headed to City Council
May 31, 2013
South Lake Tahoe's biggest hole in the ground took a step toward becoming South Lake Tahoe's largest deck Thursday with several recommendations to the South Lake Tahoe City Council.
The recommendations made by the South Lake Tahoe Planning Commission will allow the City Council to review a proposed partial completion of the long-stalled Chateau-at-Heavenly Village project at the state line.
Owens Financial, the owner of the majority of the 29 parcels at the project site following bankruptcy proceedings against the project's original developer, has proposed building the retail portion of the more than $400 million hotel, condominium and convention center project on six parcels fronting Lake Tahoe Boulevard.
The project's Tahoe Regional Planning Agency permits expire in July, and if construction does not resume prior to that deadline, the stalled project could remain that way for years to come, said attorney Lew Feldman, who is representing Owens Financial.
Feldman said the partial development shows the intention to complete the project as initially envisioned and will help the South Shore move away from its reputation as outdated, saying the partial development will be a "finished frontage."
A portion of the partially developed site adjacent to Stateline Avenue, as well as the area directly below the retail development, would be used for parking. Landscaping along U.S. Highway 50 and Cedar Avenue is also included in the proposal.
Feldman called the partial project the city's best chance at seeing the entire project completed. The incomplete project has been a sore spot for residents for years.
Several people, including property owners in the project area prior to the approval of the project, spoke against moving forward with a partial project Thursday.
A lot of unknowns remain about the proposal and the city should get assurance that the project will be completed before granting approval, former South Lake Tahoe City Councilman Bill Crawford said.
"Because if we don't get it, the project will not be completed, if history is any kind of guide in this," Crawford said.
If the project gains the necessary approvals, construction could resume this summer and the partial project could be completed during the 2014 construction season, Feldman said.
The City Council is expected to discuss the proposal at their June 11 meeting following Thursday's recommendations.