Northstar to kick off village construction |

Northstar to kick off village construction

Northstar-at-Tahoe will begin erecting its new alpine, pedestrian village this summer, but only after the resort’s landmark Clocktower and surrounding buildings come down piece by piece.

The effort to build the new village’s 213 residential units, lodge, ice rink, shops and restaurants will begin Sunday at 1:30 p.m. with the ceremonial removal of the first piece of the Clocktower building and a celebratory toast.

Following the event, several of the old buildings will undergo a five-week deconstruction, with the structure’s materials being salvaged and marketed for resale.

By the end of 2005 East West Partners, the developers for the project, plan to have the first phase of the village complete, including the ice rink, lodge and 100 residential units.

But that is only the beginning of a 10- to 15-year rejuvenation for the resort that proposes an additional 1,450 residential units, a 255-room hotel, employee housing and an amphitheater in the future.

That piece of the project, dubbed Northstar-at-Tahoe Highlands, must wind its way through the Placer County approval process, which took three and a half years for the Village project’s approval. The Highlands is currently undergoing environmental review. Both projects will be undertaken by East West.

The targeted end result of the upgrades is a state-of-the-art destination resort, where visitors can be occupied for a week or more with skiing, ice skating, shopping and dining.

“We want to be able to attract families and destination resort guests,” said Nicole Belt, spokeswoman for Northstar. “They can be entertained for an entire week without going into town.

“Also, it will bring along with it that element of nightlife, where now the resort closes down around 8 p.m.,” she added.

However, the resort, which maintains a family-friendly reputation, doesn’t aim to alter that emphasis, it simply aims to enhance its appeal.

“Certainly we think Northstar is a great place today and we think that the redevelopment and pedestrian aspects … will only draw more visitors,” said David Tirman, the project manager for East West Partners. “We kind of see [the village] as being the heart and soul of the Northstar community.

“The family orientation of the resort is one of its prime assets,” Tirman said.

Little effect on mountain

Northstar is planning for a regular ski season next year, even though the village will be a construction zone. By covering construction with a large tent, and making sure all of the regular amenities are still provided, Belt said that the ongoing project would have minimal impact on resort operations.

Part of the reason that the village will go up so fast is that it has been planned since the resort’s 1971 master plan. All the infrastructure was already in place when a Sierra Watch appeal was denied on the project in October 2003.

At Northstar, East West will have its trademark sustainability principles at work during construction and deconstruction, emphasizing energy conservation in design, and material reuse.

The village became a big success even before construction, as 78 of the 100 first-phase condominiums have already been sold.

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