‘Not a bad seat in the house’: Tahoe Blue Center nearing completion, expected opening date | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Not a bad seat in the house’: Tahoe Blue Center nearing completion, expected opening date

The Tahoe Blue Event Center is nearing completion and events are being scheduled.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

STATELINE, Nev. — “There’s not a bad seat in the house,” said Gary Wilmes, director of operations for the Tahoe Blue Center.

Wilmes on Wednesday said the symmetrical building is receiving finishing touches, big and small, in preparation for the grand opening in late August/September and the first publicly ticketed events. Events at the center can hold a maximum capacity of 5,500.  

Robert Tamborski, vice president and director of International Coliseums Company said he’s worked on many event centers but none are as beautiful as the outside. 

Tamborski said the Tahoe Blue Center boasts, “extravagance most event centers can’t afford.”

A “Party Zone” will be available for groups during concerts and shows.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

The project proved more extravagant and difficult than others as Tamborski said this one’s built into the side of a mountain. Ground water was anticipated to be a challenge but, according to the director, a bigger problem lay afoot.

“Large boulders the size of school buses had to be broken down by core drilling the boulders then adding chemicals which expand and break them into smaller more manageable pieces, “Tamborski said, and added that the project took considerable time to navigate carving into the side of the mountain, flying specialty contractors into the remote location from all around the United States coupled with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency restrictions. 

Before the end of summer, an event center will be fully functioning with a nearly 27,000-square-foot floor space that can be used for a variety of events such as concerts, basketball, conferences, 158 10×10 vendor booths, youth sports, cheer, dance, wrestling and even sports and shows on ice.

Unlike typical sports arenas the scoreboard will be part of a 30×20 led wall with a 360 ribbon board to create a full 360 video experience and scoreboard, which wraps around the entirety of the main bowl.

The 360 reader board allows for varied lighting and sound placement as well as for the event space to be completely customizable with portable walls to create smaller event spaces, portable concession stands, beverage and space enough to allow other vendors, according to Wilmes. The design allows for a wide variety of options to come together to meet the needs of those interested in using the space.

Sophistication, ingenuity and mountain life collaborate to create a spacious event location that provides views of the city and majestic surroundings of Stateline.

A rendering of the event center inside featuring two fireplaces.

Wilmes said, “We wanted less brick and mortar feeling and more of a lodge, to keep the Tahoe feel, with large windows and a log cabin feel inside and out. Two fireplaces with soft furniture and high top tables will be put out for sporting events with a grab and go station as well as hot stations. Everything is portable so it can be moved in and out, making the concourse and all but two of the conference rooms entirely customizable.”

The two static conference rooms will have retractable projection screens with all the amenities of a high end meeting hall. 

The “event lawn” will be 10,000-square-feet of natural lawn, a bike valet and outdoor event space.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

What’s not out of the ordinary is the event center’s dedication and plans to preserve the Jewel of the Sierra.

Lake Tahoe Visitor Authority attorney Lew Feldman told the Tribune, “The event center needed to create a zero vehicle miles travel impact.”

“To achieve the goal of zero vehicle miles the event center implemented, with support of stakeholders, public transit with Lake Link and on condition of approval from TRPA, in addition, required the casinos to implement paid parking after the environmental analysis conducted and concluded a combination of the two would achieve the zero vehicle mile travel,” Feldman added. “Lake link, started over a year in advance of the required start date and has had amazing results in ridership, and the drivers get great reviews.” 

Feldman shared that the project itself has removed 5 acres of impervious surface where cars causing contaminated runoff has been replaced by a roof which provides a source of clean runoff and, as it flows to the lake, benefits water quality in comparison to surface parking. 

LTVA President Carol Chaplin said the event center means evolution for the visitors authority.

“While we’ve always supported our lodging partners that have meeting space, we are evolving with additional sales support for the Event Center,” she said. ” Our staff is helping with increasing awareness in the meetings market segment and helping meeting planners understand what the destination has to offer in the way of lodging, activities, restaurants, etc.”

A rendering showing a concert at the Tahoe Blue Event Center.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.