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Shopping center revamp proposed at Ski Run

Susan Wood
Provided to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. An artist's rendering shows the proposed changes for Ski Run Center.
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Big plans are underway for a revamp of the 1.6-acre Ski Run Center at one of the most visible corners in South Lake Tahoe.

The city Planning Commission will take up today the design and use of a proposed expansion on the southeast corner of Ski Run Boulevard by Bill Edwards of Gersick Enterprises in Placerville. Edwards wants to expand the small shopping center from a 13,000-square-foot single structure to 21,000 square feet in two buildings by using the lot he owns next door.

The vacant lot between the Kentucky Fried Chicken on the corner and Chevys Fresh Mex Restaurant was once home to a gasoline station cleaned up under Lahontan Water Board guidelines.

The project is pending approval with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. The developer wants to finish the project in two years.

The KFC-anchored center will add a 450-square-foot plaza area with landscaping and seating as well as a rear entrance. Right now, motorists use an entrance off Ski Run and Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

The center was built in 1962 and was remodeled a decade later. If all goes as planned, the job may begin this fall and be completed by 2008.

In Edwards’ eyes, the reconstruction that requires a major demolition is long overdue. He plans to do it in stages to relieve the pressure on the tenants, whose leases expire at the end of 2007.

Edwards said Wednesday he’s unsure what tenants will leave, stay or be added, but he’s hopeful most of the existing retailers will stay. Their spaces will increase significantly.

Ken Wall, who bought the 33-year-old KFC franchise six months ago, has picked out a space that will take his store from 1,800 square feet to 2,800 square feet. Wall doesn’t plan to add product, but wants more breathing room for his customers.

“During our peak times, we’re busting from the seams,” he said, adding most KFC stores span more than 2,800 square feet. The San Jose resident, who lives here part-time, owns franchises near the “Y” on Lake Tahoe Boulevard, and in Kings Beach, Truckee, Jackson, Angels Camp and Scotts Valley. He’s been affiliated with the fast-food chicken vendor for 30 years.

At least one independently owned store is also interested in staying on with the revamped center.

“Definitely. This is a good corner. The remodel will mean more business for him and more business for us,” Lake Tahoe Groceries co-owner P.J. Walia said. She admitted the rent will “probably go up.”

Walia envisions a pedestrian friendly area that would coincide with improvements like a bike trail installed up Ski Run Boulevard to Pioneer Trail through the area’s business improvement district.

The theme of improvement has also caught on at the Ski Run Marina, with the new owner there making plans for a bike trail connection and extended dock to accommodate a solar boat for waterborne transit on Lake Tahoe.

Embassy Vacation Resort has also kept its plans to build 13,000 square feet of retail space and 24 time-share units on the southwest corner where its parking structure sits next to a vacant lot.

“We’d love to be a big contributor to change,” EVR’s legal counsel Todd Davis said, referring to making the Ski Run corners a pedestrian village region to rival Heavenly Village near Stateline. “It’s important the neighborhood work together to make the four corners a pathway to Ski Run.”

If you go

What: South Lake Tahoe Planning Commission

When: 1:30 today

Where: Council Chambers, 1901 Airport Road

Agenda: Ski Run shopping center reconstruction at southeast corner of Ski Run Boulevard


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