City gives Marriott another extension |

City gives Marriott another extension

Susan Wood

With more affected property owners throwing the weight of their support behind it, the South Lake Tahoe Redevelopment Agency gave Marriott and partners more time to evaluate whether to build a convention center complex.

A special meeting on Friday – the day before the city’s 9-month exclusive negotiating agreement with the hotelier was to expire – resulted in a unanimous nod by the council acting as the agency to grant a 90-day extension. The decision could be considered the third time the agency has given Marriott and partners more time to pursue the project since the Florida-based company stepped in for Harrah’s a year ago.

Friday’s action came after Marriott parties met 10 times with subcommittee members Hal Cole and John Upton and gave them a sense the estimated $190 million complex may be close to solid feasibility.

In addition to Marriott’s own analysis, the city’s agency will also have an independent, check-and-balance feasibility report done for the massive redevelopment project set on a 16-acre wedge near Stateline between Highway 50, Cedar, Friday and Poplar avenues.

“It certainly enhanced my appreciation of what a difficult project this is,” Upton said, listing land costs and funding sources as just two major factors to consider.

And Marriott has brought in some experienced development help with Stateline-based Falcon Capital LLC, run by Randy Lane, who has a few projects of his own in the region including the Sierra Shores time-share complex now under construction.

The overriding belief in going forward: The parties felt three months is a short period of time to wait in comparison to the work and patience that went into an 11-year concept.

Mayor Kathay Lovell said Sunday she was influenced by the effort and the willingness to wait by property owners who haven’t always shared enthusiasm that the project would ever see the light of day.

Mike Silvera, who owns Carriage House Inn, told the council he had a change of heart from his comments two months ago that asked the council to have Marriott move aside to allow other interested parties to go forward.

“Some of us have figured it out, and we feel Marriott has figured it out,” he said.

What hasn’t been figured out is who’s going to pay for what.

Cole did make a pledge of his own.

“General fund money will never be pledged again for another redevelopment project,” he said.

The agency faced much criticism when a cost overrun of $7 million was discovered in completing the Marriott-anchored time-share complex situated across the street.

The last time the agency allowed Marriott to continue working with the city was two months ago when it OK’d an extension via a 2-2 split with agency member Mike Weber absent.

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