CVS in old Bill’s casino to open in May; other tenants set for summer move-in

By Anne Knowles

The Stateline site known as Bill’s Casino, named for Harrah’s founder Bill Harrah and purchased two years ago by Mike Laub, will reopen its doors next month.

After a remodel costing more than $3 million and employing 80 workers, the 40,000-square-foot site is being reborn as a mall.

“Everything is new,” said Laub, who bought the property in March 2010 for $5.22 million. “New parking lot, new landscaping, new windows, new heating system. The only thing left is the foundation and the steel.”

A portion of the old Bill's casino will open in May, with the remaining tenants who have signed leases moving in during the summer. Photo/LTN

“It’s looking more and more high-end,” said Sam Dufour, owner of Teaz N Pleaz, an adult lingerie shop and one of eight tenants in the new mall. “It will change the face of the area.”

The unnamed mall – Laub told Lake Tahoe News he might have a contest to name it – will launch on May 6 with the opening of a CVS store without a pharmacy. According to the Douglas County building permit, the store will be 11,102 square feet.

Michael DeAngelis, a spokesman for the Woonsocket, R.I.-based drugstore chain, said CVS decided to forgo a pharmacy because the Stateline store is expected to attract more tourists and visitors than residents.

Laub said he expects the CVS to employ about 20 people, and for the remaining mall tenants to employ another 60. He said one tenant, the Lucky Beaver Bar & Burger, soon would be having a job fair.

During June, most of the remaining occupants are expected to debut, including Dotty’s Casino, Tahoe Diamond District, Lucky Beaver Bar & Burger, Tahoe Ink, Teaz N Pleaz, and Pilates Studio Lake Tahoe. An eighth tenant, The Raw Bar, a bar and seafood restaurant, is expected to open in August, according to Laub.

Teaz N Pleaz is adding to its stores in Fair Oaks and South Lake Tahoe with a 1,500-square-foot store in the new mall, which Dufour hopes to open June 1. He characterizes the store as a competitor to Victoria’s Secret, but its website also sells sex toys and adult games, along with apparel.

Pilates Studio Lake Tahoe is opening in late June in a 3,000-square-foot space on the third floor of the mall, said Tara Farrah, the studio’s owner. Farrah plans to offer private and group classes taught by four Pilates instructors and three yoga teachers. She may also add Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance aerobic program, and hopes eventually to offer outdoor classes on the mall’s rooftop.

“I wholeheartedly believe in Pilates,” Farrah said. “I had a ski accident years ago, and it saved my life.”

Farrah’s husband, Pat, will be opening the Lucky Beaver Bar & Burger, a 24-hour gaming bar serving gourmet burgers, on June 15. The county building permit lists it as 3,105 square feet. It feature video-table top gambling, a mini sports book, a grill inside and a fire pit in the back with outdoor seating.

Farrah said there is considerable parking in the back. “It will be a great location for locals and out of towners.”

He co-founded Home Depot. On this project Farrah has two partners —  Mike Leeper, who ran Bar 24 at Bill’s Casino, and Kevin Lane ,who owned the Cedar Room in Round Hill.

Tahoe Diamond District, a jewelry store listed as 1,266 square feet on its building permit, and Tahoe Ink, a tattoo parlor with thousands of square feet, according to its permit, are expected to open in early June, according to Laub.

Finally, a 6,500-square-foot Dotty’s Casino is scheduled to open in early June, too. The casino will have 100 slot machines, a bar and a restaurant, said Laub.

Dotty’s, which caters to locals and women who don’t typically like casinos, was the focus of a push by the Nevada Resorts Association to impose stricter guidelines on slots parlors. In August 2011, the Nevada Gaming Commission amended its regulations to require Dotty’s and similar establishments to offer bars seating at least nine patrons and restaurants of at least 2,000 square feet seating for at least 20 customers.

Calls for comment to Nevada Restaurant Service, the corporate name for Las Vegas-based Dotty’s, were not returned.

Three storefronts remain vacant in the mall, said Laub: a 4,500-square-foot spot on the first floor that Laub is now negotiating with several potential tenants and two spaces on the second floor that can be flexibly configured for between 1,000 and 3,000 square feet.

“The second floor would be a perfect location for a salon,” said Laub.

Originally, Laub planned to build a strip club at the site, but the Douglas County Commissioners nixed the plan.

The site is also known for a safe discovered in its walls during the remodeling. Some believe the safe may be connected to the unsolved murder of Richard Chartand, the original owner of the casino, when it was known as Barney’s Casino. He was killed in 1968 by a car bomb, believed to have been planted by the mob.

The Oprah Winfrey Network acquired the rights to reveal the contents of the safe on an upcoming series, but has decided not to use the safe in any show, a spokesman for the TV network told Lake Tahoe News.


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Comments (10)
  1. X LOCAL says - Posted: April 25, 2012

    This sounds like a very good Idea, hope it all works out

  2. Kathy Compton says - Posted: April 25, 2012

    Sounds like it will do good for us in Lake Tahoe ,bring it on .

  3. Hangs Ups From Way Back says - Posted: April 25, 2012

    So what’s the name this Mall?


    Hope it all works out but have to hand to a business person who can get something done in 2 years in this area.

    If it was the Califorina side, they still be paying off bribes.

  4. Tobaccodeath says - Posted: April 25, 2012

    Hoping that even the casino will be smoke-free. Otherwise the entire mall will reek of toxic tobacco smoke. Nothing like taking a yoga class while breathing in the 4,000 to 8,000 deadly chemicals, 619 additives, and 63 known cancer causing carcinogens in those miniature toxic waste dumps on fire. If it is a 100% smoke-free building, I will look forward to it! How about a dance club like Maharaja in Honolulu? What a concept… a place to dance in Lake Tahoe where you don’t have to die of emphysema, cancer, or a heart attack from the toxic air!

  5. thing fish says - Posted: April 26, 2012

    cvs could make a lot of money if they offered iv hangover helpers from the hours of 2am-noon. im sure their sale of condoms and lube will be in the top 10 of any of cvs in the country.

  6. not_twitter says - Posted: April 26, 2012

    You’re not quite sure how the hashtag (#realitycheckblahblah…) works, huh?

  7. MoSki says - Posted: April 27, 2012

    Gotta agree with Tobaccodeath. I wouldn’t want to take a fitness class with the stench of cig smoke anywhere in the vicinity, before, during or after a class.

  8. 30yrlocal says - Posted: April 27, 2012

    Congratulations on a new business venture! CVS should do great with supplies and snacks for those staying in hotels…will be much cheaper than hotel sundry shops! Low cost souvenirs too. New food and drink choice and shopping too.

    Let’s wait and not pass judgement on exercising in a smokey environment until it opens. Its on the second floor of a new building will walls and doors to each business…may not ever be an issue.

    I wish everyone success.

  9. thing fish says - Posted: April 27, 2012

    what’s a twitter? is it on the google?~

  10. DAVID says - Posted: September 6, 2012

    It sounds like this will become a great new part of what this location will ad to tourist and many locals.However, It sadden’s all of us that the owner promised to reveal the content’s of the safe and did not fullfill his word. How do we know that he will continue to be a good landlord??? A promise is a promise, No matter how rich You became……..