The 11-acre site on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe’s North Shore home of the 75-year-old “Tahoe Biltmore” was sold, along with the 113-room hotel and casino, for $56,875,000 on September 16, 2021. The new owners, California-based real estate development firm EKN, plans to develop the property into a “branded marquee destination for both locals and visitors to Lake Tahoe’s vibrant North Shore.”
A developer-initiated “Neighborhood Meeting” was held on January 28th via Zoom regarding the development formally known as “Boulder Bay”. Some 50 community members attended and listened to a 33-minute presentation by the founder and CEO of EKN Development Group. While there was no opportunity for the attendees to ask questions or provide feedback during the meeting, EKN executives referred community members to their website for answers to frequently asked questions and the proposed schedule for development.
No details on size, number of units, uses or design were covered during the meeting, but the FAQ website indicates that there will be a 10,000 sq. ft. casino with a lakefront beach clubhouse, the project will create 100 full-time jobs, 34 beds will be dedicated to employees, and there will be a total of 334 units. Retaining wall heights will range from 2-15’ in height. The resort plans to operate “shuttles” for its visitors and update the traffic study last conducted in 2008. In response to questions about increased traffic and diminished access to roadways during construction the developer stated they will “manage the SR28 corridor”. They have requested 5 years to complete the project, putting into question the availability of the 4th exit from upper Crystal Bay for several years. The community has fought to maintain 4 exits from this area since 2008.
At this point, the plan is to remove the top 30 feet of soil over the 4+ acre construction site and all of the trees on this section of land without a Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) approved project. Demolition of the existing structures is scheduled to take place in May. Concerns voiced by residents include the fact that the original proposal approved by TRPA in 2011 has been modified and the changes have not been approved by regulators. The plans approved by TRPA in 2011 were delayed for years before EKN purchased the property in 2021, the last Environmental Impact Study (EIS) was done in 2011, the last traffic study in 2008. Residents are requesting a new traffic study, EIS, and emergency evacuation plan due to the impact to SR 28. The Crystal Bay, Tahoe Vista and Brockway communities have expressed concerns they will be negatively impacted by the construction.
Residents have also expressed concerns that the drive from Incline Village to Kings Beach in the summer can already take an hour. In addition to concerns about an extended construction impact to the community, the traffic impact due to the additional “beds” proposed at the site has raised additional questions.
An article in the Tahoe Daily Tribune dated February 11, 2022 stated that “Residents of Crystal Bay and Brockway were shocked to hear about the newest plans in regards to the Boulder Bay project, now known as the “Resort at Tahoe and Residences” (RTAR)”. A link to the article can be found at: Tahoe Daily Tribute, February 11 2022.
Public Information Officer of the TRPA Jeff Cowen said there haven’t been any proposals seen from the developer as of yet. TRPA will work with EKN Development Group and with Washoe County to ensure that any work done on the site and any proposed changes to the original permit follows all permitting, planning, and public processes.
The North Tahoe Preservation Alliance (NTPA) has a signed petition by 487 residents asking the County and TRPA to review the project before any work is done. An email from Paul Neilsen, TRPA, states: “Based on what I have seen in meetings, it does not appear what they may submit is likely to be in substantial conformance with the original approved project and will therefore require additional review and approval by TRPA”.