Investors purchase West Shore favorite
The Swiss Lakewood Lodge on Tahoe’s West Shore has been a favorite stomping ground for tourists and locals for more than eight decades. The most recent owner, Phil Hynes, died in September, 2006 and a new investment group now owns the property.
Homewood Plaza LLC purchased the 1.2-acre lodge and restaurant in February. They are tentatively planning to re-open for business in May, but will likely not continue the French-Swiss concept.
Despite their planning, the group said the future of the property remains up in the air.
“We’re in a very transitional mode on what will make sense for the property in the next couple months,” said managing partner Gino Fiori, a Chico resident. “It really comes down to viability.”
The investment group is comprised of about 10 individuals who own commercial and residential real estate all over the West Coast. Many of the investors have spent time in Tahoe and a few own homes on Tahoe’s west shore. They say they are aware of how sensitive Tahoe is to development and intend to “embrace community expectations,” Fiori said.
The Swiss Lakewood has been a part of the West Shore since 1920 and the investment group will be the property’s sixth owner. Known for its cuisine, service and ambiance, locals and tourists alike frequented the authentic European restaurant.
“I enjoyed Swiss Lakewood,” said West Shore resident and business owner Gary Chaney. “It was one of my favorite [restaurants] for years.”
Homewood Plaza LLC may also work in parallel with Homewood Mountain Resort’s plans for developing a village. Homewood owner JMA Ventures has plans in the works for new ski lodges, restaurants, lodging, shops and employee housing at the base of the ski resort. The Swiss Lakewood is just two lots north of the resort.
“We’re very much supportive and appreciative to the Chapman family in what we hope to be a micro-revitalization to this corridor,” said Fiori. “We’re here for the long term “-in what capacity is to be determined.”
The investment group said West Shore residents can expect the property to be used for either lodging or food and beverage, but would not comment on other possible uses.
But some residents say they hope the Swiss Lakewood remains the same.
“[The Swiss Lakewood] should never be torn down,” said Helga Marty who owned the restaurant and lodge with her husband for 29 years. “It’s a historical building. I don’t think the homeowners would like that. There’s not much history left in Tahoe, so it shouldn’t be ruined.”
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