Billionaire donates half million to new Maritime Museum |

Billionaire donates half million to new Maritime Museum

A billionaire Lake Tahoe homeowner has kicked off the Tahoe Maritime Museum’s fundraising effort for their new building with a $500,000 challenge grant.

Ned and Carol Spieker, owners of an enormous real-estate empire based in Menlo Park, donated the half-million dollars to help the museum raise the $3.9 million needed for their new Homewood building that breaks ground this summer. The nonprofit had raised $2.3 million before the donation.

“The Spieker challenge offers the opportunity to not only raise the $500,000 from the Spiekers, but $500,000 from the community,” said Tom Bredt, the president of the museum’s board. “We think this will be a real motivator as we launch the public phase of our campaign.”

Bredt said the Spiekers are Tahoe homeowners, museum members and wooden boat owners.

“They are active members of the community,” he said.

Ned Spieker is the former chairman and CEO of Spieker Properties, before its merger with Equity Office Properties.

Spieker Properties was valued at $7.2 billion at the time of the merger.

The new Tahoe Maritime museum will be two stories and have room to showcase several of the museum’s ample collection of historic boats.

It is expected to open by the summer of 2008.

Until then, the maritime museum will be housed in a trailer this summer as the new building is under construction.

On Saturday, the museum will host a summer kick-off celebration. Family Fun Day will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum’s official groundbreaking will occur at 2 p.m.

The Maritime Museum is located at 5205 West Lake Blvd. in Homewood. Family Fun Day events include face painting, games, wooden boat tours, and snacks. The event is free.

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