Cal Neva Resort plans its makeover
The Cal Neva Resort Spa and Casino turned 80 this year and now awaits its first big facelift.[We want] to restore Cal Neva to yesteryears glory and tomorrows technology, said the resorts General Manager Josef Haas.The resort, made famous by the likes of one-time owner Frank Sinatra, was established in 1926 and straddles the California and Nevada state border in Crystal Bay. Certain areas of the resort need replacement, such as elevators and lighting systems, while other areas, such as the hotel tower, require renovation, Haas said.With resort hotels such as the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village and the Ritz Carlton moving into Northstar at Tahoe, Cal Nevas competition is fierce. Not only is the renovation an effort to update an old building to current codes, the makeover will help Cal Neva Resorts financial viability, said Haas.We have the most spectacular site at the lake … its time we bring the Lady of the Lake back to what it used to be, Haas said.Project cost estimates range from $50 million to $70 million, Haas said. The current plans include significant water, sewer and fire protection upgrades, traffic improvements, reduced land coverage and scenic improvements.The proposed height of the restored hotel tower will be more than six feet lower, and the tower and other buildings will use darker, earth-tone colors and natural materials in an effort to blend into the surrounding environment.Current square footage and number of tourist accommodation units, 219, will remain unchanged. However, the resort is trying to relocate 28 of the units from the Nevada to the California side of the border. The 30 cottages on the lower part of the resort property will be replaced with 42 new units, according to Haas, and the resort will add 12 new affordable housing units.The proposed renovation is currently in the environmental review stage of the approval process, said Crystal Jacobsen, senior planner with Placer County. Because the project straddles two counties, it will require approval from both Washoe and Placer counties, as well as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.Jacobsen said it is important to note that the total unit count will not be increased and the unit use is not changing. The units can be purchased by individual owners but will still accommodate hotel guests.
The kitchen upgrade is already under construction, Haas said. But the rest of the renovation plans depend upon agency approval. The resort began the planning process more than a year ago and submitted plans to the two counties and the TRPA within the last month, Haas said. If the resort renovations were complete by spring 2009, Haas said he would be pleased.Haas came on board as the general manager of the Cal Neva Resort just six months ago, and has been in the hotel and hospitality industry for 40 years.
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