Marriott given two weeks to come up with convention plan |

Marriott given two weeks to come up with convention plan

Susan Wood

In a bit of a redevelopment tug-of-war, South Lake Tahoe city officials on Tuesday gave Marriott two more weeks to lay out its plan to build a convention center complex near Stateline.

As the South Lake Tahoe Redevelopment Agency’s exclusive negotiating partner, the hotelier has until March 31 to share what it would build and how it would finance the project. The multi-million-dollar proposed complex encompasses about a 19-acre wedge, along Highway 50 east to Cedar Avenue and from Stateline Avenue south to Park Avenue.

John Upton and Hal Cole, agency members who serve on the council, informally met Monday with Marriott parties and determined it’s worth more time for a project that’s been in the works for at least a decade. Marriott was brought in when Harrah’s Lake Tahoe bowed out after buying Harveys from Colony Capital four years ago.

To determine feasibility, Marriott Ownership Resorts has nine months from last October, when the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency permit expired. But Marriott’s agreement with the city also requires nuts-and-bolts updates, and it hasn’t submitted anything.

The latest is – Marriott wants to bring in partners beyond the Segal-Yure Group to provide expertise in developing a condominium hotel, which is called for in the project along with retail and convention space.

Marriott representing attorney Lew Feldman would not reveal the parties. A Marriott letter was submitted into record.

“We very much appreciate the opportunity to pursue the feasibility of the hotel/convention and interval ownership (time share) elements,” Vice President of Development David Holton wrote from his Orlando, Fla., office.

One thing’s for certain. The Redevelopment Agency has no shortage of alternative ideas.

Two weeks ago, Holiday Inn Express operator Charlie McDermid gave the agency panel three minutes on his five-acre plan in case Marriott backs out.

Stephen Reinhard told the board Tuesday he wants to scrap the project and go to “square one,” perhaps to make way for an events and amusement center. A high-tech conference center also came up.

And property owners in the project area brought in a Las Vegas-based architectural firm, Thalden-Emery Associates, to sell the concept of a Stateline Village.

“So far from Marriott, all we’ve seen is a song and dance,” Rick Edwards of the Driftwood Inn said.

Edwards is one of several property owners either wanting to be bought out in the redevelopment process or get in on the revamp.

The architects proposed upscale shopping the likes of Louis Vuitton, which sells high-priced handbags. Beyond retail on the first floor, the company presented via video a project with a convention center, 100-room hotel and 200-unit condo tower on the second floor. The company has worked on the Casino Morongo in Palm Springs and Crown Plaza in Los Angeles, managing partner Barry Thalden pointed out. It also touted the rework of the Horizon Casino hotel.

“We had every government agency in the world on this project,” Thalden said, referring to the Horizon project.

The panel listened to the presentation, but it extended its exclusive rights to Marriott.

“There are all kinds of possibilities,” Mayor Kathay Lovell said.

In other business relative to redevelopment’s future, the agency also agreed to refinance its $41 million in bond debt as early as next week under an interest rate of 5.55 percent. Agency consultants are trying to beat the clock before interest rates rise.

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