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Park Project will be in two phases

Sally J. Taylor

It now looks like demolition and construction for the Park Avenue Redevelopment Project will be split into two phases. The start-up date remains May 1, 1999.

“We are looking at phasing (the project),” said Redevelopment Manager Jaye VonKlug.

Following a meeting Monday between developers and city redevelopment officials, it was decided to proceed with plans next year to build the Heavenly Ski Resort gondola, the Grand Summit Hotel quarter time-share project, the public plaza that surrounds the hotel and realignment of Park Avenue into a lazy-S curve.

“What other elements are accomplished (the first year) are subject to further discussion,” said Attorney Lew Feldmen, of Feldman Shaw & DeVore.

The following year construction is expected on the Lake Tahoe Inn element, the Park Avenue garage, the transit center, the theater and the skating rink.

“(Phasing) has been requested by our finance people, our bonding people, for quite awhile,” VonKlug said. “Originally, the project proponents didn’t want to do that but now they’re finding it’s advantageous for them as well.”

Since project plans began, American Skiing Company, Heavenly’s parent company, took on both hotel components of the project as well as Heavenly’s original commitment for the gondola.

According to Feldman, presales on an ASC project in the Canyons Ski Resort in Utah that is similar to the company’s Park Avenue project resulted in a one-day sale of $42.8 million shares.

“There’s enormous confidence we will have similar results,” he said.

In a related project, remodeling of the Crescent V Fashion Center is expected to begin in June of 2000, according to the center’s co-owner Terry Hackett.

“We’re ready to proceed when the other participants are in a position to do so,” Hackett said.

The first phase of the Park Avenue project includes, roughly, one fourth of the project at the corner of Park Avenue and U.S. Highway 50. The entire site includes the area along U.S. Highway 50 from Park Avenue to just west of Embassy Suites Resort.

That places Cecil’s Market straddling both phases. The market is now located in the phase one area but its new building is scheduled for construction in Phase 2.

“We’re working on that,” Feldman said. “There’s going to be a multitude of subchallenges in a challenging process.

“There is a commitment to move forward significantly and an opportunity to solve the problems.”

Phasing also changes things for businesses now operating in the area.

“Some businesses will be impacted (now) and some will not,” Feldman said. “Within the footprint (of Phase 1), they can anticipate acquisition by the redevelopment agency early next year. The balance can remain in business and will be acquired the next year.”

The prospect of waiting another year is bad news for John Stofanik, owner of Monk’s Pizza and Grill, located in the Phase 2 area.

“There’s not a person on this block that can last another year,” he said.

The phasing is not expected to impact the beginning of Project 3, scheduled on other side of the highway from the Park Avenue project, according to Feldman. However, that project could also be done in phases to lessen the construction impacts.

“Getting the gondola in the ground is everyone’s priority,” he said.

“A lot of people have worked many years and made countless sacrifices to get us to this point.”

According to VonKlug, the next step is to go before the city and its Redevelopment Agency on Aug. 18 to request the release of funds for expenses expected to be incurred before project bonding begins in January.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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