DDA draft nearly ready | TahoeDailyTribune.com

DDA draft nearly ready

City officials will soon be distributing a draft copy of the Park Avenue Project Disposition and Development Agreement to the South Lake Tahoe City Council.

City Manager Kerry Miller said the DDA will be available for council members as early as Dec. 29.

The DDA sets up the terms and conditions for tearing down old buildings and putting up new ones. It also outlines private and public monetary contributions to the project.

Tom Davis, Redevelopment Agency chair, Jaye Von Klug, agency manger, and Miller met with American Skiing Company attorneys Wednesday in San Francisco to discuss and work out the detail of the DDA. Miller said the discussions went well, but because the project has been planned for the last four or five years, he said most of the details have already been agreed upon by both parties.

Davis said his main concern in the discussions was protecting the city’s financial interests. He said he was confident this is being done. He said there are still a few points where ASC and the city differ, but the ski company is willing to work with the city.

American Ski is the main private proponent for Park Avenue. The company, which owns Heavenly Ski Resort, will build a gondola leading to the resort from Park Avenue and the Grand Summit Hotel as part of Phase I of the project.

Park Avenue will demolish existing structures on the mountain side of U.S. Highway 50 from the west side of Embassy Suites Hotel to Park Avenue and from the highway back toward the upper loop road.

The council, after digesting the draft DDA for a week or so, will meet to discuss it on Jan. 5.

Davis said he wants the draft DDA in the council members’ hands at least a week before the Jan. 5 workshop.

At the Jan. 19 council meeting, council members will have the opportunity to vote for or against the DDA.

Miller said should the council act affirmatively, the city will make bond presentations at the end of January. The bonds will likely be priced and sold by mid-February, according to Miller.

The city needs to sell bonds, or in this case BANS (Bond Anticipation Notes), a higher interest form of bonds, to finance the public portion of the project. In simple terms, the city is generally responsible for purchasing the existing properties and demolishing them. American Ski, and the other private proponents, are responsible for building the new structures that will adorn the project area.

The city will make offers to the property owners whose businesses will be torn down as part of the first phase in January, according to Miller. He said the sales will likely be executed by the end of February from which point the business will have 90 days to vacate.

Last week Douglas County conducted a bond issue to construct the Phase II building for Kahle Community Park. Although the county sold a higher quality of bonds than the city will for Park Avenue, Douglas got an interest rate of 4.158 percent. This was considered by all involved to be a good interest rate.

Miller said he was aware of the Douglas issue and, while the city will not rush to sell the bonds, the sooner the bonds are sold the better to take advantage of the low interest rates.

Davis said the project is on a tight schedule but is doable. He said the city may need to ask the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for concessions in environmental requirements for grading to meet the timetable.

Other phases of Park Avenue, including a new Cecil’s Market General Store next to the Embassy Suites Hotel, a multiplex Wallace Theaters movie house, a community ice rink and more transient lodging and retail shopping, will follow in the coming years. In 2000, Project 3, basically across the highway from the Park Avenue Project, is scheduled to break ground. This project is planned to include such amenities as a Lake Tahoe replica and a convention center.

South Lake Tahoe attorney Lew Feldman, who represents the private proponents for both projects, has said the ideas behind the projects are to make South Shore competitive with other first class resort destinations, make the area more pedestrian friendly, make the project area more useful to area residents and make the area more environmentally friendly.

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