Concept convention center stumbles with deadline lapse |

Concept convention center stumbles with deadline lapse

Hold the phone. South Lake Tahoe’s idea of building a convention center may be in jeopardy if some sort of agreement is not made at the City Council meeting today.

The South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency, working as the council, claims Marriott Vacation Club has violated the spirit of the agreement as the exclusive negotiating party. When Marriott agreed to explore last year the feasibility of overseeing the complex stretching over a 16-acre wedge near Stateline, it was supposed to update the city as to its progress.

No report to the city has been given thus far. One deadline came and went Jan. 1.

“There was a concern in the past that we went eight years with Harrah’s and nothing came out of it,” City Manager Dave Jinkens said Monday, referring to the agreement with the former negotiating party. “A deal is only as good as the intent of the parties. Certainly, it’s our goal to move forward with the convention center.”

Jinkens emphasized that if Marriott and its partners are running into any stumbling blocks since it agreed in October to be the one party looking into the proposal then it needs to communicate that. He sent a letter to that effect to Marriott and partners on Jan. 26 warning them of noncompliance.

When asked if the latest development could sink the project, the city manager said he’s unsure because “we haven’t even determined whether the project is feasible or not.”

At this point, the agency is considering other options given the affected property owners have expressed their own interest in working with the city.

The way it stands, the proposed project includes a convention center, time-share hotel and retail space.

Lew Feldman, representing Marriott and Segal-Yure partners, sent a letter back to the city that asked for a meeting with its consultant, an agency subcommittee and staff on March 14.

This is not a scheduled city meeting date, and Jinkens wants the gathering to be public.

“We regret this process has taken as long as it has, however, we believe it would be effective and beneficial to discuss recent concepts developed by Marriott, as well as timing issues, revenue opportunities and constraints and program considerations in an effort to advance a feasible financial model, prior to either party terminating the ENA,” Feldman’s letter reads.

Feldman was unavailable for comment Monday.

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