Owners of Boatworks in Tahoe City reimagine space
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — A Tahoe City staple, the Boatworks is being completely reimagined, as the owners announce changes for Boatworks Mall and the Inn at Boatworks.
The Inn at Boatworks was built in 1958 and the Mall was built in 1978, long before environmental regulations worked to make sure construction protected Lake Tahoe. For many years it served as a boatyard, hence the name.
The Inn was purchased by the Harrah family and became the Fantasy Inn, which was featured in the movie Hotdog. It became the Tahoe City Inn until the new owners purchased it and rebranded it to the Inn at Boatworks.
The mall was built as an open-air office building but it only lasted about two years before the developers realized the open-air concept didn’t work in Tahoe. They closed the top of the mall and converted the office space into retail space.
Since converting to the mall, it’s become home to shops like Camila’s at Tahoe, and Tahoe City Chocolates, as well as a yoga studio and library. It also offers dining options such as Jake’s on the Lake.
MJD Capital Partners purchased the property four years ago and after spending years getting to know the property, has begun plans to completely redevelop the site.
Marie Murphy, founder of MJD said they’ve already spent about $1 million in renovations at the Inn.
“It was quite a tired property, old and not some place that was a great destination,” Murphy said.
Murphy is also proud that they’ve increased occupancy at the mall, including several new entrepreneurial businesses.
Still, they are a long way from their ultimate goal.
In 2021, they put in an application with Placer County and to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to redevelop the site. Their plans fall in-line with the 2017 Placer County Tahoe Basin Area Plan.
They are proposing an 80-85 key hotel on the water, which would nearly triple the current occupancy of the Inn and 31 residential condos. This would require demolition of the mall but part of the plan includes new retail space closer to North Lake Boulevard.
“Operating those existing sites has been a challenge. Those are really old buildings and they’re not environmentally friendly and what we’re proposing for the future is much better from a stewardship perspective for Lake Tahoe,” Murphy said.
Murphy said her intention with all of the existing tenants is to have them move into the new building once it’s available.
They’ve also worked with non-profits such as Clean Up the Lake to provide space for events and storage. But while they offer space to nonprofits now, better optimized space in the future could allow nonprofits to hold events year round.
Despite not being required by code, Murphy and her partners opted to do a full environmental review of the site and project, which is a lengthy process. So the project could take anywhere from 18 months to five years.
It was important from MJD to involve the community in the process. They’ve hosted workshops and reached out to stakeholders.
“We’ve received really positive feedback. We want to create something that’s approachable for locals, that really uplifts the North Shore,” Murphy said.
While the Boatworks project holds most of Murphy’s attention, she’s also been active in finding solutions for the workforce housing shortage in North Lake. Currently, the majority of the Inn’s rooms are being used by staff that she’s housed but she wants to look at long term solutions. MJD has renovated several existing buildings elsewhere in the state for workforce housing and Murphy would like to do the same in Tahoe.
“We recognize that we’ll be creating 100-200 jobs with the new site and we recognize part of creating those new jobs is knowing where those people are going to be housed and solving the affordability crisis,” Murphy said.
To follow the process of the project, visit https://boatworkstahoe.com/.
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