Park Avenue parking depends on weather |

Park Avenue parking depends on weather

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily TribuneA 45-person crew is working to meet a May deadline to complete a parking garage at the redevelopment site.

Marriott complex contractor Joe Contreras may be one of the few people in the Lake Tahoe Basin not praying for snow.

Contreras manages the city parking garage project at Park Avenue for L.L. Bender in Sacramento and wants the $6.6 million job to run smoothly so it can open by May.

The garage was set to open in March, but December’s major snowstorms caused delays. The contractor was forced to deal with snow removal on the floors of the four-level garage.

“The weather really hurt us,” he said.

Now his crew of 45 is operating at full force to make a May deadline.

Last Friday’s cold temperatures delayed pouring for a few days. On Tuesday, though, crews began to lay the 343 square yards of concrete — of the 4,800 total yards — on the top floor. This open floor will have a snowmelt system so visitors won’t have to contend with slipping on the ice.

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The other floors also have a pattern that’s slide resistant if water collects.

Retailers and visitors eagerly await the paid garage to open, given the lack of parking in the area.

An eight-plex, 22,000-square-foot cinema with THX digital sound and stadium seating is one retailer specifically tied to the garage.

“We can’t start the cinema until the garage is finished,” said attorney Lew Feldman, who represents the developers of the Marriott complex.

Work on the cinema should begin May 15 with the start of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency-imposed grading season. It’s due for completion by December, Feldman said.

“The goal is to have it ready by the commencement of the movie season,” he said. “Like the ski industry, it’s hard to make up if you miss that.”

Wallace Theaters runs the only other theater on the South Shore in the Horizon Casino.

Gary Casteel, who manages the Factory Stores at the Y, will either run the movie theater through his company or another cinema company.

Casteel also manages the retailers who lease space at the Marriott Grand Residence Club. Several have trickled into their stores since November, when the hotel time-shares opened.

Denis Damaschino of Quizno’s Sub said the shop’s opening 11 days ago has more than met his expectations.

Damaschino said he’s noticed local workers eating there on the weekdays, while the weekends have become “packed with tourists” — some from as far away as Minnesota.

Jana Walker, who runs Sealed With a Kiss at Park Avenue along with her shop at the “Y,” has noticed a 50-50 ratio of locals and tourists frequenting her shop.

“What’s really surprised me is the response has been incredible,” she said, adding her first customer came from her hometown of Erie, Pa.

Other stores that have opened include the Gold Store, Wyland Gallery, A Frame of Mind, Century 21 Tahoe Paradise, Heavenly Sports, High Chaparral, Patagonia at Heavenly, Powderhouse and Wolfgang Puck Express.

Rocktonic Juice Bar and Cold Stone Creamery are scheduled to open this month.

At the Marriott Timber Lodge, Fire and Ice Restaurant will start construction by March. The eatery will have a full bar inside and out next to the fire pits.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at