Best and Worst scenario for Park Ave Redevelopment
Editor’s note: This is the fourth part in a series focussing on South Shore redevelopment.
When asked to describe the best and worst case Park Avenue redevelopment scenarios, Judith Von Klug, the city’s redevelopment manager, laughed a little and then sighed thoughtfully.
“Well, the best case scenario is that everything goes smoothly and they begin construction in May; Lake Tahoe Inn goes up next year; and by May 2003 the area is completely redone,” she said. “Then people will visit like mad and go home to tell everyone how great South Lake Tahoe is. Property values will go up, new businesses will be attracted to the area and the project will have worked.”
Aside from frequent talk in the community about major investor American Skiing Company’s potential for bankruptcy, Von Klug readily admits that a project of this magnitude inevitably includes hundreds of other unknowns that could stall, disrupt or even stop development.
“Say we find that Park Avenue is actually the site of an ancient Native American burial ground,” she said. “Or, in the interim, like the Ski Run Marina project, the economy turns upside down and what was an economically viable project doesn’t become feasible at that time anymore. Then it’s just a waiting game – I do guarantee, however, that the economy would turn up again, it always runs in cycles.”
As for ASC’s bankruptcy potential, Von Klug said she feels secure that Oak Hill Capital -which recently purchased 48 percent of ASC’s stock -provides the stable backup support necessary to avoid a financial fallout.
“There are people who say I wear rose-colored glasses, but I feel very comfortable – not in ASC as much – but in knowing that Oak Hill Capital, which is an extremely well capitalized company, has invested in ASC,” she said. “If something happened to ASC, Oak Hill would step in and help. They are a strong, healthy company.”
South Lake Tahoe City Councilman Bill Crawford, the only councilmember to vote against the Park Avenue development agreement between ASC and the city’s redevelopment agency, remains extremely skeptical.
“Of course, the best case scenario is that everything happens on schedule; the financial projections pan out; the city’s general fund actually receives money from the project; and ASC moves their headquarters from Maine to South Lake Tahoe,” Crawford said, laughing. “However, the worst case scenario is that Bill Crawford has been right all along.”
The fiscally conservative councilman added that he doubted whether ASC could ever successfully develop all they had agreed to, since their financial situation remained so troubled.
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