Meeting will address Park Avenue startup date |

Meeting will address Park Avenue startup date

Michael Schneider

Heavenly Ski Resort’s vice president said the community will soon know if city redevelopment in the Park Avenue area will proceed next spring.

A special City Council meeting is planned Sept. 8 to discuss the public/private partnership between Heavenly’s parent company and the city.

“Right now, we have groundbreaking planned for May, 1 (1999),” said Stan Hansen, Heavenly vice president.

Heavenly’s parent company, American Skiing Corporation, recently acquired the rights to develop a hotel and a time share as part of the Park Avenue Project. It plans to build a 162-unit gondola leading to the ski resort from Park Avenue. Each gondola would carry eight people.

The project area is from the Nevada state line to Park Avenue on the Heavenly side of U.S. Highway 50.

The original Park Avenue plan called for the construction of hotels, the gondola, a visitors’ center, a movie theater, an ice rink and retail shops. All of these improvements were to be completed next year.

Those plans were scaled back recently and the decision was made to do the project in phases.

The first phase, planned for next year, would include the Grand Summit Hotel, an ASC venture and the gondola.

According to City Manager Kerry Miller, negotiations between the city and ASC center around a $400,000 city contribution to the design of the project.

“We’re not yet quite comfortable,” Miller said. “We have developer guarantees to see the (city) risk is mitigated.” The design workshop funds would normally come from bond issues for the project, he added.

Because the project has not entered the bonding stage, the city is being asked to front the $400,000, on the condition it will be reimbursed after the bond issue.

However, until a Disposition and Development Agreement is in place, ASC is not contractually bound to proceed with redevelopment plans. The Park Avenue DDA won’t likely be finished until October, said Lew Feldman, Park Avenue Project proponent attorney.

Miller said the city and ASC are negotiating a way for the ski company to guarantee it will either proceed with the project as planned or, if not, reimburse the city for its contribution to a stalled or dead project.

“It will require minor risk-taking by the council,” Miller said. “If the city performs, we want a contractual commitment they will reimburse.”

The city has planned the Park Avenue Project, and its sister, Project 3, for several years. Project 3, scheduled to break ground in 2000, would revamp the lake side of U.S. Highway 50 opposite the Park Avenue Project.

Both projects would require city acquisition and demolition of nearly all existing structures in the redevelopment area.

City officials hope a revamping of the downtown area will help a flat South Shore economy.

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