Plans under way to renovate, create two Tahoe City hotels | SierraSun.com

Plans under way to renovate, create two Tahoe City hotels

Margaret Moran
mmoran@sierrasun.com

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — A gap in the quantity and quality of Lake Tahoe Basin lodging — specifically in Tahoe City — could shrink if two property visions come to fruition.

Major renovations to Aviva Inn and replacement of the Henrikson building with a boutique hotel are planned, conditional upon the projects securing approvals.

"North Lake Tahoe visitors looking for upscale lodging often stay in Squaw, Northstar, Truckee and Incline," said Stacie Lyans, executive director for the Tahoe City Downtown Association. "These two hotel options will allow Tahoe City to better compete with nearby communities."

Basecamp Hotel owner Christian Strobel, who purchased Aviva Inn and the 1-acre property for roughly $1.2 million in September 2014, wants to revamp the 24-room, 20,000-square-foot lodging establishment at 955 North Lake Blvd.

"For Tahoe City being such a great destination, (its) hotel product is a little limited," Strobel said "… We'd like to take it up to the level of Basecamp in South Lake Tahoe."

Basecamp is a three-star boutique hotel built for exploring the incredible lakes, trails and mountains in the Lake Tahoe Basin, according to its website.

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While Strobel originally planned on providing outdoor gathering spaces at Aviva Inn, Lake Tahoe regulations made the project challenging, and it has since been put off.

Instead, his efforts will focus on redoing the inn's interior space, with the final product dependent upon Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Placer County approvals.

Strobel said he anticipates to hear back regarding project approval in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the inn is closed.

Strobel's original timeframe to reopen was this summer, but as of earlier this week, he predicts it could be later.

When it does reopen, he said he hopes to provide a more interesting lodging option to the area.

"Hopefully, it will put Tahoe City on the map as a great place to stay and not just visit," Strobel said.

HENRIKSON BUILDING

Down the road at 255 North Lake Blvd., the Henrikson building is intended to be demolished and replaced with a 120-unit, high-quality boutique hotel, said Samir Tuma, managing member of Kila Tahoe LLC.

The company, which is under the umbrella of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Kila Properties, purchased the 1950s building, 1.4 acres of property and two neighboring easements for $2.8 million, with escrow closing in June 2014, he said.

The intent is for the new hotel to plug into the community and its assets, including the Tahoe City Golf Course, local ski resorts and other recreation providers, Tuma said.

Before the project can break ground, Placer County and TRPA need to review and approve it, a process that could take 12 to 14 months, he said.

As for when construction may start, if approved, it will depend on factors such as weather and the market, Tuma said. Construction is anticipated to take 12 to 18 months.

"I think there's a lot of demand for it," Tuma said. "There is very little high quality lodging in the area, so many visitors are staying in lodging outside of the basin and traveling into the basin for activities."

Since 1962, no new hotels/motels have been built in Kings Beach or Tahoe City, in part due to cost and regulations required to develop within the basin.

"We have an immediate need for new lodging," Lyans said. " … The addition of these boutique hotels will help to attract a more sophisticated visitor to our community, leading to more dollars spent shopping, eating and playing.

"This is a real game changer for Tahoe City."