Convention center project to be presented to City Council | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Convention center project to be presented to City Council

Susan Wood
Plans for the proposed convention center adjacent to Stateline will be presented to the South Lake Tahoe City Council on Tuesday.
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A $410 million proposal to build a 12-acre complex near Stateline including a convention center, two condominium hotels and retail space will be presented to the South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The second half of the day’s meeting hosted by the City Council, whose members also make up the agency board, is expected to highlight the financial points of the next phase of redevelopment through town. Construction is set for May 2007.

“We’ll probably need a special meeting (for the agreement),” said Mayor Hal Cole, agency board chairman. Cole, who serves on the project subcommittee with Councilman John Upton. The meeting will likely review the agreement between the city and developer regarding the project located across Highway 50 from the Marriott-anchored Heavenly Village.

Stateline developer Randy Lane has partnered with Carson City developer John Serpa on the project under the auspices of Lake Tahoe Development Co. The company has bought up 24 of the 29 properties in the area at last count, including the longtime Driftwood Cafe.

The 40-year-old eatery may be closing on Oct. 1, if the project goes as planned. And there doesn’t appear to be a landing spot either. If it’s delayed, restaurant owner Bud Hillman said there’s a slim chance he could rent on a month-to-month basis.

“Unless I sell pancakes for $12.95, I can’t lease anything down there,” Hillman said of the higher rents in town closer to Stateline. Rick Edwards, who owned the Driftwood Lodge and Cafe, sold the property to Lane and partners.

“I don’t feel I was steamrolled. I got a fair price. I’m not going to fight it,” Hillman said Sunday. “It’s just kind of sweet and sour. My customers tell me there’s no place like it.”

The Driftwood Cafe’s menu offers inexpensive dishes like the “two-napkin” veggie sandwich and omelette meals that could practically fill a diner up for two days.

Hillman said he saw this coming. The concept has been on the drafting tables of Harveys, Harrah’s, Marriott and now Lake Tahoe Development for a dozen years.

The latest design – which would be situated between Highway 50, Stateline, Cedar and Friday avenues – has evolved into a 4,400-seat arena and a village green area that includes a walking path, pond, waterfall and dining deck.

In other business set for earlier Tuesday, the council may:

— Approve a $16,000 allocation to begin to review the feasibility of a joint government complex with the Lake Tahoe Unified School District and El Dorado County on school land off Al Tahoe Boulevard.

— Award a bid for improvements to the El Dorado Beach boat launching facility through state grant funding.

— Discuss the loan agreement related to Sky Forest Acres, a Housing and Urban Development project planned on Highway 89 to accommodate the disabled.

— Hear a mid-year fiscal review of the budget’s general fund.

South Lake Tahoe City Council

Council Chambers

1901 Airport Rd.

Tuesday: 9 a.m., council business;

6 p.m., South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency, convention center business


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