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$200 Million Redevelopment Approved for South Lake Tahoe

20 November 1998

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) has approved the last in a series of redevelopment projects that will change the face of South Lake Tahoe, California.

The final project, dubbed "Redevelopment Project 3," will be an estimated $200 million facelift for close to 20 acres of the California side adjacent to Nevada, and will boast new hotels, retail and convention space in an aesthetically pleasing package for tourists and residents alike. With Wednesday's approval, South Lake Tahoe now has more than $610 million of redevelopment either completed or in the planning stages.

Redevelopment Project 3, which includes property on the north side of U.S. Highway 50 between Stateline Avenue at the California and Nevada borders and Cedar Avenue along the backside, will complement the previously approved developments, including Park Avenue—a 34-acre project housing a gondola plaza and 750 new hotel rooms—as well as the now open 400-room Embassy Suites and 210-room Embassy Vacation Resort. Approved features of Redevelopment Project 3 include the addition of 47,000 square feet of convention space, two hotels with 709 rooms and a replica of Lake Tahoe.

The redevelopment's economic contributions expected with the completion of Redevelopment Project 3 include increasing employment opportunities as well as delivering a new standard of accommodations to the region, which is anticipated to increase annual occupancy and revenue figures, contributing to an increased tax revenue base for local municipalities.

The project also is designed to aid in resolving the lake's environmental issues. Redevelopment Project 3 calls for the creation of drainage basins that will significantly reduce sediment runoff to the lake and increase in the density of the area's vegetation, and finally, will introduce as part of the plan, a central, state-of-the-art public transportation system designed to dramatically reduce fuel emissions and vehicular traffic.

"Redevelopment Project 3 is a dream come true," said Chuck Scharer, chairman, president and CEO of Harveys Casino Resorts, the primary proponent of the development. "Harveys has believed in and cared for Tahoe for more than 50 years, and this project will not only create a wonderful tourist environment year-round, but will reduce land coverage, decrease vehicle miles traveled and improve water quality to protect the pristine clarity of 'everyone's' Lake Tahoe. Redevelopment Project 3 is a terrific example of commercial development finding a common ground with environmental protection."

Many changes in the area by other redevelopment proponents are already visible. More than 20 older motels that used to line U.S. Highway 50 have been demolished and replaced with open green space. Additionally, there are new bike paths, more pedestrian-friendly walkways, new retail areas and improved lake access.

The Park Avenue Project is expected to break ground May 1999 to have its new gondola in service by winter 2000. Redevelopment Project 3 is expected to break ground in May 2000 and open to the public less than 19 months later in December 2001.

"Build it and they will come," endorsed Duane Wallace, executive director of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce upon approval of the plan.

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