Park family discusses plans for Horizon Casino |

Park family discusses plans for Horizon Casino

by Rob Sabo

The Horizon Hotel and Casino on Friday morning. The owners will close it April 1 for rennovation.

Jon and David Park have big plans for the Horizon Casino Resort at Stateline, on Lake Tahoe's South Shore.

The brothers, managing members of Neva One LLC, the Horizon's owner, will close the hotel and casino on April 1 to undertake a multimillion-dollar renovation. Jon Park says the full scope of renovation plans will be announced soon — Neva One still is working with consultants and hasn't yet finalized its plans for the property — but reinvigorating the aging hotel is exactly what the South Shore needs.

"The Tahoe market has been tough economically; however, it still is a $200 million market," Park says. "This renovation will be an effort to turn this property into a resort destination. The time is right for South Shore to have a change."

"This property has been in the family for over 100 years," he adds. "We are a local family, and we take what we do in the community very seriously. We want something of quality that the community can be proud of, and this town is ready for that."

The goal of the renovation is to create a destination with a diverse choice of resort-style amenities, Park says. The property will have multiple restaurant and dining options, as well as upscale bar, lounge and entertainment options similar to competing properties along Highway 50 at the California-Nevada line.

Repositioning the Horizon to capture its share of younger party-goers from Northern California, Lake Tahoe tourists and the locals market isn't without risk, Park notes. However, placing a renewed emphasis on quality, service and creating a range of amenities that appeals to various demographics will make the difference, he says.

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"It certainly isn't risk-free, but the property has such great history and is located in one of the most beautiful places in the world. With some care and hands-on attention, I think it will be wonderful for the community and provide a great opportunity to be unique and set apart from the other properties."

Warner Gaming of Las Vegas has been engaged to assist Neva One with day-to-day operation of the property, subject to approval by Nevada gambling regulators.

Park says less than 150 people currently are employed at the Horizon, and about 60 are part-time. Key employees and about 50 people already have reapplied to work at the Horizon when it reopens, Park says.

"We have a personal commitment to all individuals to have the opportunity to reapply and have sent them correspondence about the pending changes. The people that have reapplied, we have assured them they will have a more accelerated and streamlined process in regards to interviews."

Jon and David Park and their immediate families gained ownership of the Horizon when they announced a split with Edgewood Companies, owned by other Park family members, last October. They also received 4,200 acres of ranchland in the Carson Valley. Park Cattle Company, predecessor of Neva One, has owned the land under the hotel for more than a century.

The Horizon opened in 1965 as Del Webb's Sahara Tahoe. Elvis Presley was a headliner there in the early 1970s. Jon Park hopes for a return to those glory days in the property's future.

"We are ranchers and have been associated with the lake for our whole lives," he says. "This is where we want to be and what we want to do. We look forward to owning and operating this resort for the potential of the property and for the community."

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