Official: Hotel proposal won’t cause early closure of Horizon | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Official: Hotel proposal won’t cause early closure of Horizon

Adam Jensen

Although the Horizon Casino Resort might cease to exist after its lease expires in March 2011, a proposal for a hotel next door at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course won’t cause the Horizon’s doors to close before then, a casino official said Thursday.

The proposed hotel would be on the golf course property, and doesn’t require the land that the Horizon sits on.

But demolition of the Horizon has been proposed as a way to provide Tourist Accommodation Units for the Edgewood proposal.

Tourist Accommodation Units, or TAUs, are the rights to build hotel rooms or other tourist accommodations under Tahoe Regional Planning Agency regulations. The proposed hotel is in the early stages of the TRPA approval process.

The proposed construction schedule for the Edgewood hotel ensures operation of the Horizon Casino Resort until at least the date set in a civil suit settled this year, casino representatives said Thursday.

“No one wants to see this place go away sooner than absolutely necessary,” said Horizon General Manager Steven Loyd.

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A timeline presented in a TRPA permit application indicated construction of the Edgewood project could begin as soon as spring 2010.

The application also indicated that the owner of the land Horizon sits on – Park Cattle Company – may demolish the Horizon in order to obtain the TAUs needed for the hotel at Edgewood.

The timeline caused alarm among some of approximately 450 employees at the resort because it appeared to signal an end to the Horizon sooner than spelled out in the settlement between Wimar Tahoe Corp. and Park Cattle Co. earlier this year, Loyd said.

Wimar Tahoe Corp. owns the Horizon, and Park Cattle Co. owns the property occupied by the hotel casino.

The lawsuit was filed Nov. 8, 2005, by Wimar Tahoe in response to a series of letters threatening eviction from the Park property.

Park expressed concerns about the upkeep of the property and Wimar sued to prevent any proceedings that would remove them. Park countersued Wimar.

Under a settlement reached in April, the Horizon’s lease will end on March 31, 2011.

If Tropicana Entertainment, the parent company for Horizon and MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa, can’t renew the lease by April 2, 2011, Park could terminate the lease and take over the Horizon and operate it using its equipment for two years, according to the settlement.

The construction, which could begin in Spring 2010, would only entail infrastructure improvements. TAUs from the Horizon would only need to be transferred during the final phase of construction, said Lew Feldman, an attorney for Park Cattle Company.

The final phase would take place after March 2011, Feldman said.

“When the project moves forward, it will have no impact on the Horizon,” Feldman said.

And, while Feldman said he hopes for a speedy approval process, there is no guarantee the project will gain approval as submitted in the timeframe which is laid out in the application, Feldman said.

“Right now we haven’t formulated any after-life plans for the Horizon,” Feldman said.

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