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Upping Occupancy

Looking at Truckee’s development future, it’s not all homes and shops ” many projects include hotels and other lodging.

The town is encouraging more lodging to increase tourism and the revenue tourism brings, but prospective builders and operators have to consider how much is too much as far as room inventory and occupancy.

Traditional overnight hotels are also giving way to new vacation home opportunities, like fractional home ownership, and how that changes the way vacationers stay in the Truckee Tahoe area.



“Right now we are losing lodging opportunities to outside of town,” said Town Planner Duane Hall. “We are looking at becoming more of a center or base for visitors to the Truckee-North Lake Tahoe area.”

Even so, Hall said there is a potential for too much lodging, and new businesses have to consider what the market can sustain.



“That’s why we haven’t seen a rush on lodging, but Marriot believes there is enough support to open another hotel,” Hall said.

Marriot is the next hotel planned for Truckee at Donner Pass Road and Interstate 80.

Hall said recent additions including the Hampton Inn and the Cedar House Sport Hotel have increased transient occupancy tax ” a 10 percent tax collected on hotel rooms ” and expects future lodging to continue that trend.

For the 2007-08 fiscal year, transient occupancy tax could bring in an estimated $1,050,000, making up a significant portion of the town’s roughly $14-million tax base.

But even as new hotels are planned, existing lodging is in the region is changing, such as at the Resort at Squaw Creek where 405 rooms were converted to condos to bring in additional investment, Doug Phillips, director of marketing and sales for the resort, told the Sun in 2006.

Elsewhere in East West Partners’ developments such as Old Greenwood, fractionally owned homes have posted some of the highest sales numbers in the country, Bill Fiveash, vice president of sales and marketing for Tahoe Mountain Resorts told the Sun in January.

Tom Watson, managing partner of Truckee River Associates, said changing traditional lodging into “condo hotels,” where units are sold as condos and rented when vacant, as well as fractional ownership, is a growing trend in the area.

Closest to beginning construction in Truckee is the 110-room Marriot Residence Inn planned as part of the Barsell Property development at the Interstate 80-Donner Pass Road interchange near the Truckee Cemetery.

Jenna Endres, associate planner with the Town of Truckee, said depending on some small changes to the project plans, the hotel could begin construction by the end of this summer.

In Gray’s Crossing at the planned Village, a 120- to 150-room “condo hotel” is in early planning stages, said Henry Reed, a managing partner with RDK Partners.

Gray’s Crossing Project Manager Jeff Butterworth said that development’s hotel would find a different niche in Truckee’s lodging as a condo hotel, meant for people staying weeks, not days.

JMA Ventures, owners of the Homewood Mountain Resort, are planning an over 40,000 square-foot hotel along the Truckee River downtown. Named Hotel Avery, the three story building may include a hotel, restaurant, and condominiums, and would be located on the corner of Bridge Street and South East River Street.

The Railyard development, just east of downtown Truckee, also has a hotel in the works.

The hotel would be a smaller, boutique-type similar to Hotel Healdsburg in the Napa wine country region, Rick Holliday, president of Holliday Development told the Sun in May.

Associate Planner Denyelle Nishimori said initial plans call for 52 rooms at the Railyard hotel.

Looking further into the future ” potentially 2012 ” as part of plans to create a three-story parking structure at the current downtown Truckee post office site, a three-story, roughly 100-room hotel could spring up across Jibboom Street, said Redevelopment and Housing Coordinator David Griffith.

Though Griffith said he has only had very preliminary discussions about lodging on the site, developers have proposed that the hotel would have a fractional ownership component to capitalize on the growing market.

Griffith also said lodging is one of a few possibilities for the Bright Property at the end of South River Street, with a maximum of 120 “lodging units” allowed by the Downtown Specific Plan.


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