Lake Tahoe’s Cal Neva reopening delayed yet again; 2016 now eyed |

Lake Tahoe’s Cal Neva reopening delayed yet again; 2016 now eyed

Kevin MacMillan
A look at the famed Cal Neva from Lake Tahoe. The resort's tower — the tallest structure on the North Shore — was scheduled to receive upgrades and a new paint job as part of project renovations.
Courtesy / Cathy Gillespie |

CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — It appears the long-awaited renovation to the historic Cal Neva resort on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore is being delayed yet again.

Texas-based Hall Structured Finance announced Tuesday that the company recently closed a $29 million loan in connection with the hotel/casino overhaul.

“Roughly 14 months are needed to bring the Cal Neva Resort property back to its original glory as a premier destination resort,” the company said in a press release.

This information comes a few months after Robert Radovan, co-owner of resort controlling partner Criswell-Radovan, told the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza the resort was on track for a summer opening in 2015.

“We’re looking forward to opening during the third quarter of next year,” Radovan said in an Aug. 13 story. “Everything is going really well.”

A phone call to Radovan’s cellphone Wednesday morning was not immediately returned.

Back in August, Radovan said his company had “secured all the financing” to finish the multi-million-dollar renovation, and residents could expect “a lot of activity” this fall at the property that straddles the California/Nevada state line.

Work began again at the property last week, with Las Vegas-based Penta Construction continuing to lead the project. According to a source, work is currently happening “cautiously” on the building’s exterior.

“Securing loans for hotel projects in general can be a difficult area for prospective borrowers to navigate, and especially so for construction loans and loans in connection with major renovations,” Hall Structured Finance President Mike Jaynes said in a statement. “With available funds and an entrepreneurial approach, our programs offer viable alternatives to qualified borrowers in this niche market area.”

According to media reports, on top of the $29 million loan, Criswell-Radovan also has lined $20 million in equity, for a total financial package of $49 million.

“Mike Jaynes and the entire Hall Structured Finance team worked seamlessly with us on the project,” Radovan said in a statement. “They quickly understood the unique character of the Cal Neva and the world-class destination that is Lake Tahoe. We are all excited to bring the Cal Neva Resort back to its former glory as the icon of Lake Tahoe.”

Built in 1926, the famed Cal Neva Resort, Spa & Casino was once owned by Frank Sinatra and frequented by the likes of the Rat Pack, Marilyn Monroe and members of the Kennedy family.

Radovan — whose company took over the resort in spring 2013, closing it in September — previously said a December 2014 reopening was originally eyed to coincide with what would have been Sinatra’s 99th birthday on Dec. 12.

However, the company decided in January to delay until at least June 2015 to play things safe, considering “gambling on the snow season next year, that could really dramatically hurt us,” Radovan said in a Jan. 29 Bonanza story.

The project includes a complete overhaul of the Cal Neva’s interior — from the famous Circle Bar to the casino floor to the hotel’s rooms — a relocation of its outdoor pool and several exterior upgrades to comply with environmental laws.

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