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New lakefront project surfaces

Submitted illustrationA preliminary sketch of the proposed Kings Beach development shows a view from Highway 28. The mixed-use development would stretch between the North Tahoe Conference Center and the Ferrari Crown Resort, encompassing parcels that currently house the Falcon Lodge, Steamers and Java Hut.
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A group of developers from San Francisco and Portland, Ore., is the latest entry in the ranks of those proposing renewal projects for Kings Beach.At a meeting last week of local residents and business owners, Kings Beach Resorts, L.L.C., announced its intent to build a mixed-use retail and lodging development on a two-acre beach site in the heart of Kings Beach.The lakefront property stretches several hundred yards from the North Tahoe Conference Center to the Ferrari Crown Resort, covering parcels currently occupied by Steamers Beach Side Bar andamp; Oven, Java Hut and the Falcon Lodge.All the subject properties, including off-site parcels housing La Petite Salon, Motel California and the Big Seven Motel, are still in escrow. The developers have yet to finalize any of the property sales. Kings Beach Resorts, L.L.C. is the fourth developer with plans for the North Shore community to submit an application to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agencys Community Enhancement Program, which seeks innovative developments that meet community vision and environmental standards. Domus Development, S.K. Brown and Ferrari Crown Resorts have also submitted applications to the bistate planning agencys program.But Kings Beach Resorts, the smallest of all the submitted concepts, entered the arena a little late in the game. We really didnt know what we would be ending up with, said developer Michael Blakeman in a phone interview Friday. Originally intended to be a larger project, the project was downsized after some of the negotiations fell through. When we finally realized that this is what we have, we pulled the trigger.A real estate broker based in San Francisco, Blakeman partnered with Portland developers George Bean and Nancy Frisch to design the project.We saw incredible opportunity in Kings Beach, Blakeman said. This might be something that is really beneficial not only to the community, but also to the lake.While the deadline for program applications was October 31, Blakeman said the agency extended the deadline to Nov. 7.We are working diligently to catch up and present a quality project, said Leah Kaufman, the developers land-use planner. Were doing everything we can to catch up on an equal par.Even if their plan is not accepted into the Community Enhancement Program, Blakeman said the development partners are prepared to close escrow and remain committed to the redevelopment project.Were going to continue going down the road, he said. We feel that we have a project that works really well. And judging from what weve heard from the community, its something that the community wants and we feel that its time.Blakeman said the partners have not had any serious negotiations with the owners of the existing businesses on the site, but said that he would like them to stay. Greg Green, who operates Steamers Beach Side Bar andamp; Oven, said he has not yet spoken with the developers about the future of his restaurant. Green does not own the Steamers property.I called them, Green said. They said, Its not time for us to talk to you.Green said he is not familiar with the proposed concept design. If it sells, it sells. If it doesnt, it doesnt, Green said. [Steamers] is a whole package. That would change if I wasnt on the lake, Im sure. Thats a huge component of Steamers.Jessica McDonald, who owns the property housing La Petite Hair Salon and formerly owned the business, said she has spoken with the developers in the past and said they seemed willing to work with the businesses.Theyre doing really good working with us, so Im really impressed with that, McDonald said. They show a genuine concern, so far, on whats happening.McDonald said they have not yet discussed rental rates.Blakeman said the proponents have talked with the owner of Java Hut, Dave Kellenberger, but neither Kellenberger nor Bryant LaFerriere, who owns the property housing Steamers and Java Hut, responded to phone messages by deadline Friday.


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