Resort renaissance: Puttin’ in the Ritz-Carlton is an ongoing project |

Resort renaissance: Puttin’ in the Ritz-Carlton is an ongoing project

Ground breaking for Northstar at Tahoe’s $300 million Ritz-Carlton Highlands luxury resort will kick off on Wednesday with a ceremony and tours.

The 173-room resort project, slated to open in late 2009, is being developed by East West Partners and will include 75 homes for sale and 77 other residences available as time-shares in addition to the hotel.

Reaction to the project from the local tourism industry has been optimistic.

“I think it is going to be a significant positive addition to the hospitality industry by creating a destination reputation,” said Steve Teshara, executive director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “Ritz-Carlton is a major name known worldwide and the marketing they do will be significant for the entire [region].”

Placer County stands to gain a significant amount of revenue from tourism that the Ritz-Carlton generates, Teshara said, because 60 percent of east county earnings from transient occupancy taxes go to the resort association and are put toward funding such community efforts as transportation, services and infrastructure.

The resort will border the 1,450-unit Highlands community that East West Partners and Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. are co-developing at Northstar, and will access the Village at Northstar via gondola.

“The place where they are going to build is just a breathtaking site,” Teshara said.

The construction and decoration of the Highlands project will differ from the traditional Ritz-Carlton theme of mahogany and marble, said Bill Fiveash, vice president of marketing for Tahoe Mountain Resorts, and will instead pull inspiration from the historic Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood and the surrounding Sierra Nevada.

Construction will continue through mid-October but will cease for the winter, Fiveash said. Finishing the construction of Highlands View Drive, the 4.5-mile road that intersects with Highway 267 about 1,000 above Northstar’s main entrance, is of top priority because it serves as the main route to the resort’s entrance. Underground utilities will also be installed. Construction will then resume next spring and will continue without cease until the project is complete in late 2009.

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