Official: Mid-April is goal for Incline Lake sale | SierraSun.com

Official: Mid-April is goal for Incline Lake sale

INCLINE VILLAGE – A representative for the 19 shareholders comprising the Incline Lake Corporation is confident the oft-publicized sale of the 777-acre Incline Lake parcel to the U.S. Forest Service could be finalized later this month.

If the sale happens and Incline Lake becomes public property, the Incline Village General Improvement District will be in position to have a stake in what would be largest private-to-public land transaction since Incline was founded in 1961.

Glen Williams, a principal member of Terra Firma, the land brokerage firm based in Minden, Nev. that represents Incline Lake Corporation, said Monday that both sides picked up serious negotiations in December and are close to making a deal.

“The negotiations with the Forest Service have been pretty intense the past two and a half to three years,” Williams said. “But in particular, in the last few months, both the Forest Service and the Incline Lake Corporation have pretty much come to an agreement to move forward.

“The goal is to get an amount finalized sometime in mid-April. At that point, when this happens, it’s going to be pretty interesting news not just locally, but on a national scale.”

The Incline Lake property is the largest tract of private land on the Nevada side of the Lake Tahoe Basin. It includes the lake, at 8,300-feet elevation, six buildings ranging from a clubhouse to a 14,000-square-foot lodge with a deep space telescope and indoor swimming pool, small cabins and a caretaker’s home.

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According to previous Bonanza articles, talks of selling the private lake and its surroundings to a public buyer surfaced in 2005, when Sen. John Ensign, R-Nevada, said the sale was possible.

If the 777-acre parcel becomes public, the Forest Service could sell parts of the parcel to potential buyers. One of those potential buyers is IVGID, which agreed in March 2006 to buy five acres of the land once it becomes public, with visions of a visitor’s center or a cross country ski facility as potential fixtures on the IVGID-owned land.

The district has done everything it needs in anticipation of buying the five acres at $1 million, said IVGID General Manager Bill Horn, which includes the recent securing of Question One Bonds from Nevada State Lands to pay for 75 percent of the buying price. Question One funds are bonds raised by a state sales tax increase in 2002.

The other 25 percent – or $250,000 – comes from IVGID’s recreation fees, money that already is in district hands.

“The already were collected two years ago when the decision was made, and they are sitting in the bank,” Horn said.

As for the sale price of the entire Incline Lake parcel, Williams couldn’t confirm if the original buying price of $75 million, a figure valued by Incline Lake Corporation in 2005, remains on the table.

“We’ve been going back and forth over some pretty complex appraisal issues,” Williams said. “It (the selling price) is something that will probably come out in a few weeks.”

Rex Norman, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, said he didn’t have much news from the Forest Service’s side of the negotiations.

“The offer that was made by the (Forest Service) remains on the table, and is being considered by the (Incline Lake Corporation) and (its) representatives,” Norman said. “It is my understanding that conversations are ongoing and active at this time.”

Even if the deal goes through, and IVGID buys the five acres shortly thereafter, Horn said it could take as long as 10 years before anything comes to fruition.

“It’s a very long-term strategy,” Horn said. “There are multiple capital improvement projects for the district that are in front of this.”

Another factor that needs to be taken into account is that if the Forest Service buys the land, it could take years of permits and land-use applications before decisions are made about constructing and/or tearing down property on the parcel, Horn said.

Norman agreed, although he added the potential sale provides a tremendous opportunity for the Forest Service.

“The area of Incline Lake is one of the last remaining large holdings within the basin under consideration for sale to become public lands, and the (Forest Service) interest in the property is for its resource, restoration and recreational values and opportunities,” Norman said.