Big hole at state line may soon see work
June 12, 2013
Work could resume as soon as next month on the much-maligned "hole in the ground" at the state line following approvals by the South Lake City Council.
After hours of discussion Tuesday, the Council unanimously approved construction of a partial Chateau project Tuesday.
Several council members expressed concerns with the partial project, but ultimately concluded that something is better than nothing at the stalled development site.
Owens Financial, the majority property owner of the site following bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings, has proposed building the retail portion of what was once envisioned as a more than $400 million retail, lodging and convention center project. Development of the site has been stalled for years after the original developer was unable to secure financing.
"It's not everything we want but, man, it sure is a big step," Cole said of the partial, approximately $11 million project. If the city doesn't move forward with the Owens Financial proposal, it will likely be many more years before seeing another proposal for the site, Cole said.
Lew Feldman, the South Shore attorney representing Owens Financial, said the proposal to build the retail portion along Lake Tahoe Boulevard is a way to see on-the-ground improvement and increase the marketability of the entire project to investors. Owens Financial, a mortgage bank, is not a development company and has established a wholly owned subsidiary, Tahoe Stateline Venture, to construct the partial project, according to the attorney.
Construction of the partial project is scheduled to resume in mid-July. Caltrans issuing an encroachment permit for the project represents a potential snag in the construction schedule, Feldman said.
When, or if, construction of the portion of the project outside of what was approved Tuesday will resume is unknown. Although the design of the project would need to remain in line with existing permit approvals, what ends up inside the buildings may change from original plans if it is developed.
Lodging in the original proposal could end up being timeshares, condominiums or hotel rooms, Feldman said. Convention center space contained in the original project would remain, but will no longer be publicly controlled because of the dissolution of California redevelopment agencies, Cole said.
Several council members said the partial project is not ideal, but the status quo is worse.
"I would rather have something than nothing," Davis said.