April 20, 2020 (SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev.) – By a 3-2 vote last Thursday, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners approved bond issuance for the Tahoe South Event Center, the final step in the project’s approval process.
Tahoe Township proponents cited the expected annual economic impact to Douglas County’s south shore of $40-$60 million, an estimated tax surplus of $1 million, an additional 550 year-round employment opportunities for locals, as many as 800 construction jobs for two years, plus diversification to complement the destination’s shift from gaming to recreation and entertainment.
Commissioners Penzel, Rice and Walsh voted in favor; commissioners Engels and Nelson were opposed.
When discussing the economic impacts and recovery from COVID-19, commissioner Larry Walsh, vice-chairman, district 3 stated, “Approving the Event Center today starts that long journey. [It’s] a central link of our economic chain in Douglas County. We must do what we can to throw a lifeline to our community to signal that we will not retreat in the face of this crippling crisis. We must do what we can to restore our fragile economy piece by piece.”
The 132,000 square-foot Event Center will provide a venue for conventions, special events and entertainment on Lake Tahoe’s south shore, located adjacent to MontBleu Casino in Stateline on property donated by Edgewood Tahoe.
“We’re extremely grateful to the County Commissioners for their support and recognition of a project to help assure the long-term economic future of the south shore,” said Carol Chaplin, president and chief executive officer of the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority. “It’s been a challenging multiple-year process and now we look to move forward with enthusiasm, imagination, confidence and hope to secure our future.”
Chaplin cited numerous supporters including Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Douglas County partners, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, Tahoe and Carson Valley Chambers of Commerce, businesses, community, fraternal organizations, and individuals. More than 400 letters of support prior to the meeting flooded the Douglas County website, representing the overall community.
The TRPA Governing Board unanimously approved the Event Center project on March 25 due to its promise as a catalyst for a robust transit system as well as air, scenic and water quality improvements.
“Everyone has witnessed how the Heavenly Village redevelopment helped South Shore – and the 55% increase in property value within the California redevelopment district,” said Chaplin. “The Event Center also represents a game changer and major attraction.”
Plans for construction this summer will be dependent upon health and government safety protocols and will likely entail more underground and utility work during the initial phase. Project completion is anticipated for 2022.
Funding for the $80 million + project requires no tax increases for residents. Funding sources include $34 million or 19% via Douglas County Redevelopment Area #2, created in 2016 to strengthen the area’s economic base through focused attention and financial investment; a $5 per night lodging surcharge on each room at Tahoe Township properties (casinos/hotels, Lodge at Edgewood and vacation rentals) will account for 43% of debt service to repay the bonds; and current transient lodging license tax and transient occupancy tax for the remaining 38%.
About the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority
The Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority, a Nevada public agency, was created by the Nevada Legislature in June of 1997 with the passage of Assembly Bill 616 (The Tahoe-Douglas Visitors Authority Act). In an effort to boost tourism, the Act was passed to create the Authority and impose an occupancy tax on hotel room rentals in the County. The act allocates a portion of these occupancy-tax revenues for two purposes; first, for advertising, publicizing and promoting tourism and recreation in the Township; second, to spend the allocated proceeds on planning, construction and operation of a convention center in the Township.