Horizon to undergo multi-million dollar renovation | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Horizon to undergo multi-million dollar renovation

Neva One LLC, owner of the Horizon Casino Resort at Stateline, has announced it will shutter the hotel on April 1 to begin a multi-million-dollar renovation. The Park family in October of 2013 announced a split with its Edgewood companies that ceded ownership of the Horizon and prime ranchland in the Carson Valley to part of the family, while Edgewood, owned by other family members, retained ownership of its namesake golf course and the land leases for Montbleu Resort and Harvey's Lake Tahoe parking garage. Jon Park of Neva One LLC said last October that once Neva One assumed ownership of the property the plan was to change the casino's operator and reinvest in the property to bring the 539-room hotel and casino, built in 1965, up to current standards. Columbia Sussex Corporation of Crestview Hills, Kent., formerly operated the casino. Neva One plans to retain Warner Gaming group to manage operations once the property reopens pending Warner's approval by Nevada casino regulators. Warner already is licensed at a Las Vegas resort. "Our family's plans for the Horizon are proceeding on schedule," Park said. Warner Gaming and its affiliated companies manage nine gaming and non-gaming properties throughout the United States, though the Horizon is the company's first foray into the northern Nevada market. "I could not be more excited to be joining forces with the Park family, and helping to usher in the next chapter of this property's history," says Bill Warner, president of Warner Gaming. Jon and brother David Park, managers of Neva One, say they will announce additional plans for the property and a timeline regarding its renovation in coming weeks. Employees at the property will be able to meet with Nevada JobConnect regarding other employment opportunities in the Lake Tahoe area, the Parks say.

Hard Rock hotel and casino coming to Lake Tahoe

STATELINE, Nev. — Rumors of a Hard Rock hotel coming to Lake Tahoe proved to be true Thursday, after weeks of speculation as to what would become of the old Horizon Casino Resort. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe, a fully integrated gaming resort planned for the South Shore, will replace what was once the Horizon when renovations wrap up in late 2014 or early 2015, according to an official announcement made at Heavenly Mountain Resort. "We're excited," said Don Marrandino, a gaming executive overseeing the operations for the new Hard Rock, adding. "And we're going to be ready to start rocking Lake Tahoe in (the) 2014 ski season." Once completed, the new facility will feature 539 "four-diamond" rooms, multiple restaurants and bars, an assortment of live entertainment both indoors and outdoors and "South Lake Tahoe's largest outdoor pool party," said David Park, a member of the same Park family that gained ownership of the property in March. It will also include a 25,000-square-foot casino with more than 500 slot machines and a wide variety of table games. The entire project will cost more than $50 million to complete. "We're excited about bringing a distinctive, new, resort experience to the area — one that will surely ignite the market," Park said. With music at its core, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's mission is to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience by combining the authenticity of the region with strong music appreciation, according to a press release. With that in mind, Park said presenting live entertainment from high-profile acts is one of the top goals of the planned hotel. "That ought to rock this town," he said, to a crowd of community leaders and stakeholders Thursday. Jon Park, a managing member of Neva One LLC with his brother, David, said the two family members will be "hands-on owners" as the project moves forward. Warner Hospitality will handle day-to-day operations at the new Hard Rock. The company and its affiliates already manage 10 gaming and non-gaming properties throughout the country. Warner Hospitality CEO Bill Warner said he's excited to see the company's entry into the northern Nevada market with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino brand, as well as the Park family. "This, combined with the majestic and natural beauty of Lake Tahoe, will make for a resort-style experience like no other," Warner said in statement. Warner expressed his confidence in Marrandino's ability to make the Lake Tahoe Hard Rock a "must see experience" on the South Shore. Marrandino has over 20 years of senior level experience in the resort and casino industry, as well as a strong familiarity with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino brand. He served as president and COO of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas from 2001 to 2003 and president of northern Nevada/general manager of Harrah's Lake Tahoe and Harveys from 2003 to 2005. In addition to managing the Lake Tahoe project, Marrandino also assists in other Warner Hospitality operations in Nevada, including Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, according to a Warner Hospitality press release. Thursday's announcement of a new Hard Rock hotel in the area was made about three months after the Park family said that the old Horizon would become the Park Tahoe Casino Resort. Ultimately, the decision was made to transform the property into a Hard Rock hotel, however, and Marrandino said it will be a quality addition to the community. "Let's rock Tahoe," he said.

Parks terminate Hard Rock managers at Stateline casino

A hearing in a $9.6-million lawsuit seeking payment for the renovation of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Stateline is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 26 in Minden, Nev. On Thursday, Oct. 15, defendants Jon and David Park sued the property management company in Washoe County, claiming they approved change orders that nearly doubled the cost of the casino's renovation and mismanaged the hotel once it was done. The Parks, managers of Neva One LLC, terminated their management agreement with W-G Stateline and Warner Hospitality of Las Vegas before filing the lawsuit in Washoe County District Court. "We are taking all actions that we consider appropriate to strengthen the property," David Park said. "We believe the changes at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe will help us be in a better position to resolve issues that came about during the renovation project." The relationship between the Parks and Warner Hospitalities' Bill Warner began before work started to convert the Horizon Hotel and Casino into the Hard Rock, according to latest court filing. Warner's companies agreed to do a market analysis, manage the renovation, conduct the opening and oversee training on the property once it opened. The Parks claim that any change orders of more than $10,000 or totaling more than $200,000 were supposed to be approved by them. Shortly before the casino closed in spring 2014, Warner Gaming presented a plan to brand the Horizon as the Hard Rock, saying it would be superior to the originally planned Park Tahoe brand. The Parks raised $60 million in financing to renovate the property, and after closing the hotel, entered an agreement with SMC Construction Co. to do the casino renovation for a maximum price of $9.6 million. They entered another contract for renovation of the towers. The casino opened in January 2015 to fanfair, but by May SMC had filed a lien seeking $18.9 million from the Parks for work they'd done. Floors of the hotel towers remained incomplete. "Warner has failed to manage the property properly, resulting in customer dissatisfaction, bad publicity, employee turnover and revenue well below Warner's projections," according to the Washoe County lawsuit. In a statement issued on Thursday, Oct. 15, the Parks said they will be more closely involved in the operations of the Hard Rock, emphasizing better training, support for employees, local control and decision making, and improved customer service. "Opening a property is a very labor intensive proposition and one which we couldn't have accomplished without the hard work and dedication of our valuable employees," said co-owner Jon Park. "We expect our customer service to be at the highest level. As such, we are committed to being personally involved in providing our employees with proper training and the support necessary to meet that expectation." Long-time Northern Nevada gaming consultants Rick Stevens and Jim Roets have taken over the property as interim management consultants. "We are fortunate to be working with two seasoned gaming experts in Jim Roets and Rick Stevens during this transition," said co-owner David Park. "Their extensive and successful backgrounds in on-property management and gaming operations will guide us as we look to the future of the property." Following a hearing in Douglas County District Court in June, the Parks and SMC agreed to the court's order that the parties work towards a mutual resolution of the case. Although a settlement has not been reached, a continued hearing is scheduled for Monday, and the parties are in communication. "We are eager to move forward in a positive direction for the property, our valuable employees and the community," said David Park.

Horizon becomes Park Tahoe

The Horizon Casino Resort at Stateline, on Lake Tahoe's South Shore, became the Park Tahoe Casino Resort this week as a $40 million-plus renovation got underway. Keys to the resort, which opened in 1965 as Del Webb's Sahara Tahoe, were turned over on Monday. The project by brothers Jon and David Park, managing members of Neva One LLC, will include remodeled rooms, new and remodeled restaurants and bars, exterior changes and numerous other improvements. South Lake Tahoe Councilman Tom Davis, who worked for more than 20 years at the resort, said he was on hand as "they just locked the door, exchanged the keys and the old management left." The renovation, added Davis, "is going to be great for the South Shore — absolutely." Davis started as a limousine driver at the original Sahara, and rose through various positions including the resort's yacht captain, catering manager, convention manager and finally executive director of sales and marketing. Along the way, the Sahara was renamed the High Sierra and later the Horizon. Jon Park has said the goal of the renovation is to create a destination with a diverse choice of resort-style amenities. While the project is not without its risks, he said there's "a great opportunity to be unique and set apart from the other properties" in the casino core on the Nevada-California line. Warner Gaming of Las Vegas has been lined up to handle day-to-day operations, subject to approval by Nevada gambling regulators. Warner manages 10 gaming and non-gaming properties around the nation. The Park brothers and their immediate families gained ownership of the resort when they announced a split with Edgewood Companies, owned by other Park family members, last October. They also received 4,200 acres of ranchland in the Carson Valley. Park Cattle Co., predecessor of Neva One LLC, the Park Tahoe owner, has owned the land under the hotel for more than a century.

Tahoe flooring company sues over Hard Rock work

STATELINE — A Lake Tahoe flooring company is suing the builders of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, saying they were never paid for work they'd done on the hotel. Tahoe Specialty Flooring & Window Design of Tahoe City, California, filed the lawsuit in Minden on Jan. 20. "We haven't been paid one cent for the property improvements we completed back in April and May 2015," said Coreen Serrano, owner of Tahoe Specialty Flooring & Window Design. Building the Hard Rock, which celebrated the anniversary of its opening last week, prompted a flurry of lawsuits, many of which have been combined with a claim made by SMC Construction for $9.6 million. SMC sought $6.4 million from the Jon and David Park's Neva One at a hearing in December. That case is still moving through the courts. The flooring company alleges that they had a contract for $13,000, but change orders ran up the total to $68,297. Among the defendants in the lawsuit are the Park's Neva One. Also listed are subcontractors Bill Dickson Construction and CVC Hospitality. In an earlier lawsuit, Savage & Sons is seeking $820,000 from Neva One for plumbing work. The Parks raised $60 million in financing to renovate the property, and after closing the hotel for renovations, entered an agreement with SMC Construction Co. to do the casino renovation for a maximum price of $9.6 million. They entered another contract for renovation of the hotel towers. The property reopened Jan. 29, 2015. The Parks are suing the property management company, claiming it approved the change orders that nearly doubled the cost of renovating the casino. The Parks terminated their management agreement with W-G Stateline and Warner Hospitality of Las Vegas before filing the lawsuit in Washoe County District Court in October 2015. Shortly before the casino closed in spring 2014, Warner Gaming presented a plan to brand the Horizon as the Hard Rock, saying it would be superior to the proposed Park Tahoe brand.

Lake Tahoe Hard Rock Hotel has soft-spot for nonprofits

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe, Warner Hospitality and the Park family are donating goods and materials from the former Horizon property to local charities including, Christmas Cheer, Inc., Live Violence Free and South Shore Christian Assembly. The Park family has called South Lake Tahoe home for generations and has a vested interest in seeing the community thrive. "Donating the supplies from the Horizon to these local charitable organizations isn't just about repurposing goods. It's about seeing those in our community put them to good use, rather than throwing them away," said Jon Park, owner of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe. "This great community has been our home for more than 100 years, and the only way to ensure another 100 is to help South Lake Tahoe succeed on every level." Donations were made in the form of blankets, sheets, towels, lamps, irons, alarm clocks, shampoos and non-perishable food to local charities including, Christmas Cheer, Inc., Live Violence Free and South Shore Christian Assembly. Each organization provides food, clothing, shoes, household items, toys and other necessities to low-income families, victims of domestic violence and others in need in the South Lake Tahoe community. For more information on Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe, visit HardRockCasinoLakeTahoe.com.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe opens to large crowd

STATELINE, Nev. — Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe celebrated its grand opening with a mass of people Wednesday night as crowds eagerly awaited a taste of Tahoe's newest source for lodging and entertainment. Guests watched as Jon and David Park, members of the family that own the property, shattered an ice-sculpted guitar with sledgehammers and said a few words to kickoff the event. "This is going to be great for our community, great for our families, great for everybody here in the South Shore," Jon Park said. "Welcome, from our family. David and I are extremely excited for everyone to come out to what I think is a once in a 50-year event in this area — the grand opening of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Lake Tahoe." But even before the flood of people funneled through the resort's front doors, the renovated building was rampant with activity as staff prepared for opening night. Carts of ice were speedily delivered to the property's many dining locations, while employees arrived in droves and changed into costume. The smells of construction still lingered in the air, and crews continued to apply some additional touches in the late afternoon. About $60 million has been poured into renovating the South Shore property — formerly the Horizon Casino Resort — but work isn't quite done, according to Don Marrandino, senior vice president of operations for Warner Hospitality. For instance, improvements to places like the pool area and fitness center could take a bit longer before they're fully open. However, the main portion of the building, including the 25,000-square-foot casino and four eateries, looked polished and ready for customers around 4 p.m. Wednesday. The casino, set up in the shape of a large rectangle, features 500 slot and video poker machines, 24 table games and an 82-seat race and sports book — managed by William Hill — with several feet of wall lined with high-definition TVs. The eateries, on the other, line the edges of the casino floor. Fire Break Kitchen & Bar offers outside dining complete with patio heaters and gas fire pits. The view overlooks Highway 50, as well as the property's 25-foot high, 2,150-pound guitar sculpture. The sculpture can turn 360-degrees so guests can take photos with any surrounding backdrop, and lights are located inside and below the piece to enhance the visuals at nighttime, said Terrence Martin, creator of the giant guitar. "My intention was to create an iconic sculpture for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe that would both reflect the history and feel of Lake Tahoe, while at the same time, providing an unmistakable icon for the property," Martin said in a statement. Back in the building, Park Prime, the Oyster Bar and the Center Bar are all located next to each other on the west side of the casino floor. Park Prime offers steak, seafood and other hearty options, as well as a full bar and live music. Hardwood floors, wood and brick walls and Edison light bulbs accent some of the décor. The restaurant is adjacent to the 18-seat Oyster Bar, a 24-hour eatery offering gumbos, pan roasts, jambalaya and more. The Center Bar, located yards away, is also open 24 hours. It sits in an area bathed in blue light and features several LED TVs. It is one of two bars in the hotel and casino — not including those inside the restaurants. The second bar is the North Bar, located next to the sports book on the opposite side of the room. Finally, on the north side of the casino area, the 2,000-square-foot music and entertainment venue, Vinyl, takes up the corner space. It neighbors the coffee and snack shop called Fuel. At each location and throughout the building, the Hard Rock logo and brand is featured prevalently. There's also no shortage of rock 'n' roll memorabilia. Guitars and clothing perched behind glass-covered cases share associations with the likes of Buddy Holly, the Sex Pistols, James Brown, Velvet Revolver, Sammy Hagar, Lenny Kravitz and more. Nods to Elvis are prominently displayed throughout the building as well, where Marrandino said the King of Rock 'n' Roll played 106 times. There is also an 1,813-square-foot suite named after the King. In the end, the property's transformation has taken about 700 construction workers to bring it near completion. Hotel rooms became available to the general public today. "I've done this quite a few times," Marrandino said, "and I've never seen employees as excited as I saw yesterday. They were jumping up and down and really ready to go out there and do what we want to do the most, and that's customer service and really revitalize this area."

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe hires new management team

STATELINE — Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe announced recent management changes on Wednesday, Oct. 14. It terminated the contract with W-G Stateline and Warner Hospitality of Las Vegas, said David and Jon Park of Neva One, LLC, in a news release. Neva One is the parent company of Stateline's Hard Rock location. According to Neva One, Rick Stevens and Jim Roets will act as interim management consultants. Stevens and Roets are long-time northern Nevada gaming consultants who know and understand the market, are sensitive to the needs of employees, and are prepared to respond to competitive forces. Stevens is the chief operating officer for Navegante Group, Inc., a company that offers management services in the gaming and casino industry. "We are fortunate to be working with two seasoned gaming experts in Jim Roets and Rick Stevens during this transition," stated co-owner David Park in a news release. "Their extensive and successful backgrounds in on-property management and gaming operations will guide us as we look to the future of the property." The Parks will also assume closer involvement with their Stateline property. "Opening a property is a very labor intensive proposition and one that we couldn't have accomplished without the hard work and dedication of our valuable employees," co-owner Jon Park stated in an Wednesday news release. "We expect our customer service to be at the highest level. As such, we are committed to being personally involved in providing our employees with proper training and the support necessary to meet that expectation." Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, formerly known as the Horizon Casino, opened in January 2015 after it closed in April 2014 for renovations. For more information about Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Lake Tahoe, visit http://www.hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe to host summer concert series

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe and PR Entertainment will bring an outdoor summer concert series to Lake Tahoe's South Shore this summer. The concert series will kick off in late June with six to eight shows and conclude on Labor Day weekend, according to a Tuesday announcement from the casino. The shows will be held in a temporary outdoor amphitheater that will hold up to 7,500 people. "The property is transforming its back parking lot into an outdoor arena that will host top-name national artists performing in an intimate setting with the unparalleled backdrop of Lake Tahoe," according to the announcement. "We're excited to take the energy and vibe of Vinyl outside on a much grander scale with bigger bands and performances during the core summer months and further complement the already outstanding entertainment offered at South Shore," said Don Marrandino, senior vice president of operations for Warner Hospitality, in the statement. "PR Entertainment, Inc. was the logical choice to help us bring the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe outdoor concert series to life with their in-market experience and strong relationships in the industry." The property will announce artists, events and dates in the coming weeks. "Combine PR Entertainment's long tradition of bringing concerts and festivals to the Tahoe basin with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's entertainment DNA, and the concert series promises to benefit the entire market, with more, bigger and diverse entertainment choices for visitors and locals alike," Marrandino said.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe to host summer concert series

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe and PR Entertainment will bring an outdoor summer concert series to Lake Tahoe's South Shore this summer. The concert series will kick off in late June with six to eight shows and conclude on Labor Day weekend, according to a Tuesday announcement from the casino. The shows will be held in a temporary outdoor amphitheater that will hold up to 7,500 people. "The property is transforming its back parking lot into an outdoor arena that will host top-name national artists performing in an intimate setting with the unparalleled backdrop of Lake Tahoe," according to the announcement. "We're excited to take the energy and vibe of Vinyl outside on a much grander scale with bigger bands and performances during the core summer months and further complement the already outstanding entertainment offered at South Shore," said Don Marrandino, senior vice president of operations for Warner Hospitality, in the statement. "PR Entertainment, Inc. was the logical choice to help us bring the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe outdoor concert series to life with their in-market experience and strong relationships in the industry." The property will announce artists, events and dates in the coming weeks. "Combine PR Entertainment's long tradition of bringing concerts and festivals to the Tahoe basin with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's entertainment DNA, and the concert series promises to benefit the entire market, with more, bigger and diverse entertainment choices for visitors and locals alike," Marrandino said.