Frank Sinatra’s old Tahoe casino to reopen one year from today

Kevin MacMillan
This rendering shows the view of Lake Tahoe from one of the Cal Neva's balconies, where one of three new restaurants was expected to open as part of the new-look property.
Courtesy / Glodow Nead Communications |

CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — A famed North Lake Tahoe hotel/casino once owned by Frank Sinatra will reopen to the public on Dec 12, 2015 — on what would have been Ol’ Blue Eyes’ 100th birthday, officials announced today.

Crews currently are renovating the 10-story, 191-key resort that straddles the California-Nevada state line, featuring a full interior and exterior property overhaul that will create a “modern and luxurious destination that will be unlike any other in the region,” according to a Friday statement from resort controlling partner Criswell-Radovan.

The Cal Neva will offer a refurbished non-smoking casino with table games and slot machines. Further, the resort’s theater — The Showroom, originally imagined and built by Sinatra and known for years as the Frank Sinatra Ballroom — “will be carefully restored and upgraded to once again serve as Tahoe’s preeminent entertainment venue, which will also host local community events and recitals.”

Built in 1926, the Cal Neva Resort, Spa & Casino was owned by Sinatra from 1960-63, and frequented by the likes of the Rat Pack, Marilyn Monroe and members of the Kennedy family, among others.

According to Criswell-Radovan, the Napa Valley-based real estate development company that took over the resort in spring 2013 and closed it in September of that year, the refurbished Cal Neva will include a fine dining restaurant with an exhibition kitchen; a casual three-meal restaurant adjacent to the pool, which will also serve a daily breakfast buffet; and a third outpost with a retail component that will transition from a morning bakery/café to a gourmet pizza and wine kitchen in the afternoon.

“A focal point of the property, Cal Neva’s signature Circle Bar, will once again be the North Shore’s favorite après ski destination and social hub,” officials said. “… For families and children, there will be a kids club and game room. A resort spa will provide salon services for women and men’s grooming.”

Company co-owner Robert Radovan previously said a Dec. 12, 2014, reopening was originally eyed to coincide with what would have been Sinatra’s 99th birthday.

However, various financing and construction issues delayed the reopening.

In November, Texas-based Hall Structured Finance announced the company recently closed a $29 million loan in connection with the hotel/casino overhaul.

According to media reports, on top of the $29 million loan, Criswell-Radovan also has lined $20 million in equity, for a total financial package of $49 million.

Work began again at the property in late October, with Las Vegas-based Penta Construction continuing to lead the project.

According to today’s announcement, roughly 300 jobs will be created upon the resort’s reopening, many of which will be filled by local employees.

Additional details are expected to be released in early 2015, officials said.

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