Douglas County explores funding options for Stateline entertainment venue
STATELINE — Douglas County will evaluate a proposal to finance a public, year-round entertainment venue in Stateline. The Douglas County Board of County Commissioners met to discuss the concept at a meeting on Thursday, Oct. 15, at Tahoe Transportation Center in Stateline. County staff and the South Tahoe Alliance of Resorts are working together on the proposal.
According to assistant county manager Christine Vuletich, the idea is to create a redevelopment zone, an area that will collect property tax revenue within Stateline, to fund a publicly owned venue.
“We currently have significant private development in the area that will result in increased assessed property evaluation and an increase in property tax revenue,” she said.
Vuletich added that the idea for a public entertainment venue lines up with the county’s Economic Vitality Plan, which was adopted in 2010. A public venue might expand free types of events offered in Stateline, along with private options. The redevelopment area would include the Stateline casino core, Kahle Drive and Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
The location for the possible entertainment venue was not disclosed.
Now Douglas County will conduct a $100,000 evaluation, which includes a financial advisor, analysis and a redevelopment plan preparer. The county and the South Tahoe Alliance of Resorts will share the evaluation costs.
The idea, Vuletich said, is to create a redevelopment plan, submit it to the Douglas County Planning Commission in November for consideration and recommendation and have it approved by the Board of County Commissioners in January and February. The tight timeline would fall before the March 15, 2016 Douglas County property assessment deadlines.
Commissioners — including Nancy McDermid, who represents Stateline on the board — support the idea.
“The county’s plan talks about redevelopment of existing properties in Lake Tahoe because there aren’t going to be new properties built,” McDermid said.
County staff said additional properties could be included within the boundaries of the redevelopment area after the initial adoption.
Lew Feldman, an attorney who represents Tahoe Stateline Ventures, said the redevelopment area would benefit the economy. Tahoe Stateline Ventures owns the Zalanta at the Village project in South Lake Tahoe.
“The idea is to create a venue for entertainment, and we have seen entertainment have a very positive impact on both sides of the state line,” Feldman said.
Lake Tahoe’s South Shore area attempted past efforts to establish a similar venue on the California side with the original Chateau at the Village project.
The $420 million project included a 71,000-square-foot convention center. The idea died after $55 million in public funding vanished when California eliminated its redevelopment agencies in 2012.
“My expectations are that it would be a publicly owned facility built to accommodate a variety of entertainment events,” Feldman said.
A year-round public entertainment venue would potentially increase sales tax and tourism as well, according to Carol Chaplin, executive director of Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.
“I think that it can truly transform the downtown area of Stateline eventually,” Chaplin said. “The improvements will generate transient occupancy and sales taxes that would far exceed what the county gets already.”
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