Red Carpet to fall with first-round demolition |

Red Carpet to fall with first-round demolition

Mary Thompson

The Park Avenue Redevelopment Project boundary isn’t unbending – and neither is its governing body.

The South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency unanimously approved a request Tuesday to bend the line and include the 57-unit Red Carpet Inn into the phase 1 acquisitions. The Red Carpet was scheduled for purchase and demolition in phase 2 proposed to begin in two years.

The redevelopment project is part of the city of South Lake Tahoe’s plan to eliminate blight in the downtown area by using the power of eminent domain to secure 13 parcels along U.S. Highway 50 and Park Avenue for new, private development. Development plans include a gondola leading up to Heavenly’s slopes, a quarter-share hotel, retail shops, restaurants, a six-screen theater complex and an ice rink scheduled to be built this spring.

Motel owner Ed McCarthy was worried that construction activity would ruin his business, which sits along the phase 1 boundary line.

“The dust, the dirt and the noise going into the wee hours of the night is going to be devastating to us,” McCarthy said. “Who’s going to want to stay there – clearly there’s going to be a loss.”

As an option to operating his motel under the swinging arm of construction cranes, McCarthy proposed that his motel also be included in the first round of acquisitions.

After some discussion and stipulations about funding and purchase prices, the Agency granted McCarthy’s request but only if an agreement can be reached with the owner of the property.

Dale Sare, attorney for Hope Vinci who owns the property, said the idea of an early acquisition is new to his client.

“Over the last several years, we’ve not been noticed on the redevelopment process,” he said Tuesday. “We support the action of this board and are looking forward to a presentation from the Redevelopment Agency.”

The Agency said it was only willing to buy out the property if the land and motel owners could come to an agreement over the appraised value offered by the city. It would not enter the agreement if the eminent domain process had to be used.

The financial ramifications of the buyout would result in a loss of interest to the city of about $78,000 per year – money the city would be building if the approximately $1 million used for the purchase of property sat in an account for the next two years.

The loss could be offset if the building is not demolished right away. Rent from McP’s Irish Pub, which is located inside the Red Carpet building and plans to stay open during construction, would pay the city about $68,000 a year.

Pete Joseph, part-owner and manager of McP’s, said the construction will have little or no effect on the business.

“If anything it could increase our day business with construction workers coming in for lunch,” he said. “And we have live music every night of the week so the noise won’t be a problem to us.”

Bill Crawford, who holds a consistently dissenting vote record on redevelopment items voted in favor of the early acquisition.

“I want to make clear that we would be spending over a million dollars and the consequence is that we are then locked into building a transit center,” Crawford said Tuesday. “Unless (the Agency) wants to give its money back to the state, it can’t reverse its course – this purchase will lock the Redevelopment Agency into building the transit center.”

Sare said negotiations between the property and motel owners could be as short as a day or as long as a year.

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