Development in Crystal Bay was abuzz a few years ago with the Boulder Bay project, slated to replace the Tahoe Biltmore Lodge & Casino. The project had beautiful renderings, several revisions, and finally an approval by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in April 2011. Now that the Cal Neva is on the road to revival and the Crystal Bay Club is attracting big name bands to the casino corridor, locals want to know what happened to the Boulder Bay Resort & Wellness Center that was supposed to revive the state line area.

“They are still in the financing stage; nothing is moving forward right now,” said Brian Helm, former project manager for Boulder Bay, who now lives in Seattle.

The redevelopment project was supposed to be a boon for the area, with a mix of condos, hotel units, affordable housing, a small casino, a health and wellness spa, retail and dining space, pedestrian and transit improvements, and a 4-acre community park. But since the approval three years ago, the project has run into financing problems, defaulting on a note and looking for a new financier for the multi-million dollar project. JMA Ventures, owners of Homewood Mountain Ski Resort, currently holds the note.

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And a deadline is lurking around the corner — projects have three years from the time they are approved by the TRPA to start construction. This means that Boulder Bay needs to break ground next month.

“They would have to start from scratch,” said Jeff Cowen, spokesperson for TRPA, noting that the project was in planning for five years and the owners spent at least half a million dollars on the environmental impact reports alone. “Boulder Bay intends to move forward, although financing may still be a question.”  

Cowen did say that there are no “hard timelines with large projects” and there are ways developers can make projects happen after permits expire. However, Boulder Bay’s website no longer exists, and calls to the project’s office by Moonshine Ink were not returned.

Although questions may still circulate about the once-controversial project, Cowen notes there is a rise in projects around Tahoe.

“We’re seeing a reawakening in the Basin,” Cowen said. “Projects that were held up for several years are being dusted off again.”

 

Author

  • Kara Fox

    When she’s not writing or editing the news section for Moonshine Ink, Kara Fox can be seen hiking in the spring, paddle boarding in the summer, mushroom hunting in the fall, snowshoeing in the winter, and hanging out with her 7-year-old son year-round.

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