Tahoe City rallying support around 118-room lodge project
Special to the Sun
The draft EIR/EIS is available online at bit.ly/28KpGME and trpa.org. The public comment period ended Aug. 15; a timeframe for when a final EIR will be released for comment is yet to be determined, although it’s likely months out.
Visit tahoecitylodge.com to find out more about the project.
An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Samir Tuma, whose company, Kila Tahoe LLC, is project developer. The story now reflects the correct spelling. We regret the error.
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — It’s been a long time coming, but Tahoe City finally may get a new luxury hotel.
Just a few months after the extensively remodeled Basecamp hotel graced the east end of Tahoe City, the 118-room Tahoe City Lodge is making its way through planning stages on the western end at the site of the Henrikson Building.
The Lodge is proposed to be a four-star hotel that will include a restaurant, rooftop bar, pool and hot tub, as well as conference and meeting space.
In addition to standard hotel rooms, it will include one- and two-bedroom suites. There will be a restaurant on the ground floor, with hotel rooms on the second and third floors, and on the top floor an open-air, roof-top deck with views of Lake Tahoe.
A portion of the upper deck will be open to the public for food and beverages service, with a private section providing a pool and hot tub for hotel guests.
“It will be an exciting spot for the community to come and enjoy,” said Samir Tuma, whose company, Kila Tahoe LLC, is property developer. “We will have events and parties up there, but will make sure it is operated in a responsible way and be sensitive to the Tahoe Marina Lodge across the street.”
TIME WELL SPENT
In addition to the lodge, Kila Tahoe has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tahoe City Public Utility District, which owns the adjacent Tahoe City Golf Course.
Per the agreement, the existing golf course lodge would be razed and replaced with a new facility with a club house and restaurant on the ground floor, and conference and meeting facilities on the second floor.
This conference space will be used by both the hotel and the public. In addition, the golf course and hotel will share parking spaces.
For Tuma, it has been a three-year process to get to this point.
“Hopefully, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We are tentatively looking for approval in December for Placer County and January for the TRPA.” Tuma says. “While it is a process that takes time to go through, the time has been well spent. We came up with our vision after spending a year working with the community and agencies and going through the visioning process to understand what the community wanted.”
Kila Tahoe hired a commercial real estate firm to do an economic impact study, finding a $43.4 million positive impact to the community during construction, with an $8.6 million annual impact in the form of jobs and taxes once the lodge is up and running.
Sunnyside Lodge Senior Managing Partner Jeff Oxandaboure (Ox) says of the Tahoe City Lodge, “I think it is what we have been waiting for, for a long time in the North Tahoe area. I have a lodge, but I’m still real excited about it. It will bring in conference business, and will get rid of that eyesore. It is all positive.”
‘COULDN’T BE A BETTER LOCATION’
TCPUD General Manager Cindy Gustafson feels the partnership is a win-win situation — the golf course gets a better club house, with additional meeting space for the community, and the shared parking reduces the amount of pavement necessary.
Gustafson says the project also fulfills the goals of Placer County and the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, which contributed money to help purchase the golf course several years ago with the hope of seeing the golf course be part of economic development that provides “visitor amenities within walking distance of downtown.”
Tahoe City resident Ron Grassi, in a recent Sierra Sun opinion column, said project will “create additional traffic gridlock in the center of Tahoe City, added noise, night time glare, and drop a scenic sore thumb as much as 56 feet high in the middle of our town.”
However, most of Tahoe City’s business community disagrees, seeing that a high quality hotel as a missing link.
Douglas Dale, owner of Wolfdale’s Restaurant in Tahoe City for 40 years says the No. 1 question he hears in the restaurant is “Why isn’t there a nice place to stay in Tahoe City?”
“It’s a great question. We have an extraordinary town and location, and the only thing we don’t have is the up-to-date place to stay my customers are looking for,” said Dale. “Without a doubt, it is the thing we need and it couldn’t be a better location for it.”
Monica Grigoleit, manager of The Cobblestone Center agrees: “I’m in favor of it, and I’m sure all of our retail merchants would be totally in favorite of it as well.”
Tim Hauserman, a nearly lifelong resident of Tahoe City, is a freelance author and cross-country ski instructor. He may be reached at email@example.com.