Heavenly Discovery Center | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Heavenly Discovery Center

By Sally J. Taylor

The Heavenly Lake Tahoe Discovery Center combines a glimpse at the history and future of South Lake Tahoe along with a low-key approach to sales.

The building across the state line from Harveys Resort Hotel/Casino, which also houses Heavenly Sports center, is the presales office for the Grand Summit Hotel Resort at Heavenly.

Heavenly hosted a VIP party at Embassy Suites Resort on Wednesday to celebrate the opening of presales and to unveil the details of the project.

Many in attendance had already placed their own reservations. As people gathered around the display model and floor plans, they pointed out “their” condominium to friends and neighbors.

For two weeks, reservations have poured in from all over the Western Hemisphere from people interested in buying a piece of the luxury resort even though the Grand Summit is not scheduled to break ground for another year. Actual deeded sales of the quarter-ownerships are also many months away, but that hasn’t stopped well over 100 people from reserving a spot.

Despite the activity, the sales desks do not dominate the Discover Center.

Upon entry, the center looks more like a mini history museum with displays of old-Tahoe photographs and other historical information.

“We worked with the Historical Society of Lake Tahoe,” said David Bansmer, Grand Summit’s vice president of sales and marketing.

“This is a quality, high traffic site to tell the story of Tahoe. And Tahoe has such a rich history.”

The company, owned by American Skiing Company, opened a similar history-oriented center in Steamboat, Colorado when presales began for that Grand Summit Hotel Resort.

“People really liked it,” Bansmer said.

The center also tells the story of South Lake Tahoe’s future as envisioned in the Park Avenue Redevelopment Project. That project, which will include the Grand Summit and Heavenly Gondola, is expected to recreate the South Shore beginning with 34-acres across from the Discovery Center. It’s scheduled to break ground in May 2000.

The Discovery Center is the only area where information on the project is easily seen and on constant display.

“Here people can come and go through the redevelopment process and see what it’s going to provide,” Bansmer said.

Beyond the displays of Tahoe’s history and future are the displays promoting the Grand Summit Hotel Resort at Heavenly.

A detailed model of the resort is the centerpiece. Artists renderings show the elegant architecture that “evokes the turn of the century grand hotel architecture at Lake Tahoe,” Bansmer said.

Even here, visitors are welcome to browse.

“It’s a low-key approach to sales,” Bansmer said. “There’s no incentive to view. We just tell our story.”

And a lot of folks are anxious to take a look.

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