Triangle project awaits green light from city
Just as the long-awaited Park Avenue Redevelopment Project comes to the brink of fruition, the genesis of another plan is rising.
The Triangle Project – a 120-room hotel in the wedge of land bounded by U.S. Highway 50, Pioneer Trail and Midway Road – was presented last Tuesday to the South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency.
At the core is a footprint of the proposed Hilton Garden Inn that would sit on the vacant lot behind the 7-Eleven building and extend into three parcels currently occupied by three motels and an apartment complex. Those buildings – the National 9 Inn, the Brooke’s Lodge, the Midway Motel and the Monte Verde apartments – would be razed and their commercial square footage transferred to the new development.
Should the project be deemed fiscally feasible, Tahoe Hospitality LLC has entered into an exclusive developer’s agreement with the city. Tahoe Hospitality, which is primarily backed by South Shore residents Charles and Nancy McDermid, is hoping for a similar redevelopment scenario that has allowed the Park Avenue Project to move forward – a financial boost from the city to get the wrecking ball rolling.
Whether or not the city of South Lake Tahoe is willing to enter into another public-backed project remains to be seen.
Redevelopment Agency Vice Chair Brooke Laine said although she supports the project moving forward, she’ll have to consider the project carefully.
“The question is – to what extent can the city have this type of relationship with the private sector?” Laine asked. “We would absolutely have to issue bonds and we can’t do this every time someone wants to build a project.”
About $5 million would have to be borrowed for the acquisitions, said Judith Von Klug, the city’s redevelopment manager.
“I think they have an excellent land-use plan for the project but we’ve not been able to negotiate a financial plan that works,” Von Klug said, admitting that her available time to work on the Triangle Project is severely hampered by the demands of Park Avenue’s tight time schedule. “The next step would be to hold a workshop with the Redevelopment Agency to review the plan that we’ve negotiated with them.”
Von Klug said the project makes for an natural addendum to the Park Avenue development about to go in less than a half mile down the highway. Park Avenue, with its five proponents, calls for the demolition of 39 businesses to make way for an alpine-style village complete with a gondola leading to Heavenly’s slopes, a new hotel, retail shops, restaurants and a movie theater complex.
Its style and design could serve as a harbinger of the smaller, less expensive Triangle Project.
“It’s almost like an extension,” Von Klug said. “It’s on the same side of the street and starts on the other side of Pioneer Trail, where the Park Avenue Project stops.”
By July, Von Klug hopes to have a solid plan to bring to the Agency that would tie the Triangle’s streetscape to Park Avenue’s landscaping, giving a uniform appearance to the downtown area.
“If we are going to do this, the developer would like to build next year,” she said. “That’s very ambitious and we’ll have to get things going in July to make that work.”
At that point, the entire project is contingent on the Agency’s decision. The members could approve the proposal as is, ask for revisions or scrap the idea altogether.
Lewis Feldman, attorney representing Tahoe Hospitality LLC, said the project won’t proceed without the support of the city.
“This project is not viable unless the Redevelopment Agency engages in a public-private partnership,” he said.
The 53,000-square-foot hotel, which includes four large meeting rooms and a restaurant facility, would serve a different segment of Tahoe tourists than those pointed toward the modish Park Avenue.
“We’re creating a high-end development at the gondola base,” Feldman said. “This product is shooting for a lower average daily rate to create more choices in the marketplace.”
Von Klug said initial proposals outlined a room rate of about $150 per night in peak season, which will ring in at about half of the cost for a room in the upscale Grand Summit Resort, scheduled to be built this spring in the Park Avenue Project.
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