Last look at Love |

Last look at Love

Susan Wood

The wedding is off, but don’t blame the bride or groom.

Douglas County commissioners Thursday tentatively approved a land swap to acquire Love’s Wedding Chapel at U.S. Highway 50 and Kingsbury Grade. Nearly three years in the making, the transaction is set to close Nov. 30, with the chapel to be demolished in the spring.

The county and Prim & Associates have partnered to develop a 5-acre project adjacent to the small Love’s lot, where open space is proposed. One idea for the land includes erecting outdoor sculptures of skiers or cyclists to reflect recreation at Lake Tahoe.

Five buildings equaling 62,000 square feet are proposed to house commercial and retail office space, a transit center and restaurants. Outback Restaurant has expressed interest, according to county, chamber and Prim representatives.

It may also bring the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce offices and Visitor Center from its Round Hill Square location farther east. Executive Director Kathleen Farrell said the chamber will review the finances to see if it can swing the move.

Prim project manager Dave Fairbank also mapped out in the plans a parking garage with a park-and-ride feature on county property. The project is set to be done in 2003.

The land swap involves four county-owned parcels, the largest four acres, in Summit Village, Kingsbury Palisades and near a Kingsbury General Improvement District well site. Collectively, the lots are worth between $500,000 and $600,000.

Falcon Capital principal Randy Lane, who co-owns the wedding business with Ron Darby, said the Love’s property has been appraised at a market value of $804,000.

The county has to offer more land to make up the difference, so the board will take a second vote in a month following a second appraisal.

Commissioner Don Miner said the Love’s parcel is needed to meet coverage requirements for the Prim project. It’s also the first major intersection east of the California-Nevada state line.

“It’s really a gateway to Douglas County,” he said.

The 32-year-old wedding chapel has joined together 2.5 million people from all over the world, but business has dropped by about 40 percent this year. The sputtering wedding business is not exclusive to Love’s; wedding licenses on the South Shore has declined from 12,015 in 2000 to 8,026 so far this year.

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