Horizon becomes Park Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Horizon becomes Park Tahoe

Tom Lotshaw

Work takes place at the Park Tahoe Casino Resort sign at Stateline. The casino changed its name from The Horizon Casino Resort to Park Tahoe this week.

The Horizon Casino Resort at Stateline, on Lake Tahoe's South Shore, became the Park Tahoe Casino Resort this week as a $40 million-plus renovation got underway.

Keys to the resort, which opened in 1965 as Del Webb's Sahara Tahoe, were turned over on Monday. The project by brothers Jon and David Park, managing members of Neva One LLC, will include remodeled rooms, new and remodeled restaurants and bars, exterior changes and numerous other improvements.

South Lake Tahoe Councilman Tom Davis, who worked for more than 20 years at the resort, said he was on hand as "they just locked the door, exchanged the keys and the old management left."

The renovation, added Davis, "is going to be great for the South Shore — absolutely."

Davis started as a limousine driver at the original Sahara, and rose through various positions including the resort's yacht captain, catering manager, convention manager and finally executive director of sales and marketing. Along the way, the Sahara was renamed the High Sierra and later the Horizon.

Jon Park has said the goal of the renovation is to create a destination with a diverse choice of resort-style amenities. While the project is not without its risks, he said there's "a great opportunity to be unique and set apart from the other properties" in the casino core on the Nevada-California line.

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Warner Gaming of Las Vegas has been lined up to handle day-to-day operations, subject to approval by Nevada gambling regulators. Warner manages 10 gaming and non-gaming properties around the nation.

The Park brothers and their immediate families gained ownership of the resort when they announced a split with Edgewood Companies, owned by other Park family members, last October. They also received 4,200 acres of ranchland in the Carson Valley.

Park Cattle Co., predecessor of Neva One LLC, the Park Tahoe owner, has owned the land under the hotel for more than a century.