Waldorf Astoria moves forward with permit process; Name SB Architects as designers

CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — The Waldorf Astoria team came together on Tuesday, May 23, for a community meeting to discuss special use permits needed for the project through Washoe County.

The meeting was the first step in the process of obtaining the permits needed to continue work on the Waldorf Astoria, which will breathe life to a town that currently has no dedicated town center. 

There are multiple different special use permits that are required by Washoe County for the project to move forward with the planned amenities. The permits that are currently being applied for include a permit for general merchandise stores at the resort, as well as vehicle storage and parking permits, and employee housing and multi-family dwelling permits. 

In addition, the project will need a permit for a transmission and receiving facility for emergency broadcasting. 

Although the project has already been approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, to move forward with a plan that was reduced from what was previously approved, the need for special use permits with the county is to ensure that the entire plan follows the due processes. 

“It just makes it crystal clear what we’re proposing and when we’re proposing it,” said project manager Tom Jacobson. “This, today, is really the first introduction to the community of what we’re doing.” 

The next steps following the public meeting include working with county staff to complete the permit applications for a formal staff report before the item eventually goes to the Board of Adjustments for final approval. 

During the meeting, community members asked questions and submitted their thoughts through comment cards that were available at the meeting. 

“We’re here to understand what your concerns and what your comments are,” said Jacobson. 

There were a few concerns from Crystal Bay area locals who worried that the project might not come to fruition with the current proposals, meaning there could be more development than planned, or the private residences on the property could eventually turn into timeshares. 

Those concerns were met with answers, including the assurance the private residences at the Waldorf Astoria will never become timeshare properties, and there would be transparency and honesty throughout the entire process to in order to bring the best possible outcome to Crystal Bay residents. 

“That’s what the county does and that’s what other regional agencies do,” said Jacobson. “They ensure that me, as an applicant, build what I said and approved to do.” 

Highlights of amenities that were presented during the meeting included boutique high-end gaming and cabaret with a secret speakeasy bar, The Grove, which is a public gathering space for he community, 100% underground parking, and access to a private beach club with a pier and watercraft. 

The timeline for the project is demolition to continue this summer, before mass grading begins in the summer of 2024, with vertical construction to begin in 2025. 

The project is expected to be finished between 2027 and 2028. 

Following the meeting was an announcement that SB Architects would be leading the design of the Waldorf Astoria. 

To embrace the distinctive characteristics of the North Lake Tahoe region while giving the area a much-needed contemporary addition, SB architects drew on their experience to create a resort with an authentic sense of place that exposes guests to the artistry of mother nature. 

“A primary goal was to create a natural, direct connection to the water beyond, which we achieved by elevating the lobby to capture the expansive views of the lake,” said VP and Associate Principal of SB Architects Keith Houchin. “The lobby traces down to an existing grove of trees, immersing guests in the natural landscape and creating a seamless flow between spaces. By creating a series of communal spaces to allow for year-round indoor/outdoor connections, guest can bask in the direct connection to the lake from the comfort of the rest and the surrounding idyllic setting.” 

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