Horizon hotel-casino lays off workers; Edgewood considers options for Stateline property


By Kathryn Reed

Horizon hotel-casino in Stateline is struggling to keep its door open and find people to rent one of the 539 rooms.

Tahoe Horizon LLC, a subsidiary of Columbia Sussex Corp., runs the South Shore business. Horizon employees were laid off before the December holidays. This is usually one of the busiest times of the year for lodging properties at Lake Tahoe as well as for casinos.

While General Manager Corinna Osborne did not return Lake Tahoe News’ phone calls, one of the fired employees who spoke off the record, said about a dozen workers were let go. Valet, bellmen and restaurant workers are out of work. One of the employees had been with the property for more than 30 years.

Horizon hotel-casino operators have just more than 16 months on their lease. Photo/LTN file

“Business is just real bad right now,” a fired worker said.

The Four Seasons restaurant used to serve three meals a day. Now it just serves dinner.

Tahoe Horizon’s contract to operate the hotel-casino expires March 31, 2014. The next day Edgewood Companies takes control of the building. Edgewood has owned the land for more than 50 years.

While Edgewood is aware of the recent layoffs, officials said the hotel-casino operator is not contractually required to report those dealings to them as the landlord.

“We don’t have any indication they won’t stay open,” Patrick Rhamey, vice president of real estate for Edgewood, told Lake Tahoe News. The company is not making contingency plans if the Horizon wants to close before the contract expires.

Rhamey would not say what the Horizon may become after Edgewood takes over. However, the property will stay open over the long haul.

“It possibly could close temporarily for a short period of time, but not an extended period of time,” he said.

With gaming licenses difficult to get in Nevada, it’s probable a portion of the 30,000-square-foot casino floor will forever have some form of gambling.

Rhamey said the company is discussing what the property will become, but said nothing has been decided.

The company’s website says, “Edgewood Companies has been conducting research and analysis to evaluate potential reuse or redevelopment options for the Horizon site. Options ranging from the preservation of the status quo to a complete scrape and redevelopment are under consideration. The full redevelopment of the site may include a destination resort with a recreation and entertainment focus. Amenities could include a live entertainment venue, a recreation hub to serve as a gateway to Tahoe’s great outdoors, a casino, and an indoor spa and fitness facilities with complimentary retail and restaurants. A redevelopment would include significant water quality improvements to improve clarity in Lake Tahoe.”

While the future of the Horizon is up in the air, Edgewood Companies is going forward with plans to develop Edgewood Lodge on the nearby Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. A business plan is being created which will include who is going to build the facility as well as operate it.

Site work and the pier will be done this summer, with actual ground breaking of the lodge likely occurring in 2014.





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Comments (20)
  1. Old Long Skiis says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    Sorry to hear more people are losing there jobs here on So. Shore. Barton Memorial cut there staff a few years ago, 44 city employees fired as well as many in city management quiting,(when the city manager, mayor, city attorney and finance director all quit within one year, you know we are in trouble), the school district “retired” 17 people.

    It goes on and on …Firemen, Police left short handed, post offices and schools closing, resturaunts and small businesses on 50 closing up.(note To the Baumanns, we made our own fondue the other night for the first time and it turned out great!).

    Maybe our slowly shriveling town will revert back to how it was in the 50’s. Just a small group of folks that stayed here in the winter and the summers were busy with tourists and locals alike. Casinos all one or two stories high. Very little as far as govenment agencies go. Cut a few trees down on your lot and build a cabin? No problem! No permits, no fees and no inspections.That might not be such a bad thing

    Sorry to see ever more people that have no choice but to move away in search of work and and an affordable place to live.
    Goodbye Horizon / Sahara.Old Long Skiis

  2. Zorrro says - Posted: January 12, 2013


    I see you often keep unconventional hours as I do …(but then black-caped crusaders are kinda’ expected to inhabit the darkness of night.)……I digress.

    Believe it or not, I see this is a potentiallly POSITIVE developmnet. Certainly not for those who lost their jobs. I have beeen on unemployment 3 times myself times since 2008 so I completely empathise. BUT in the bigger picture of the future, this could prove significant. Here’ why.

    There’s been so much contention arould the Loop Road—Do we even need it? Who’s house / business has to “go” in order to make room for new intersections? How will it effect the economy of the immediate area….and SLT overall. Does tunneling make sense? What’ll it’ll cost? Glass skyways ? What about the hole?

    Perhaps what’s needed here is an entirely new pespective.With the stated goal of improving walkability/ bikeability and improvig traffic flow, I have mentally constructed many alternatives [none include moving he entire stretch behind (south) of the casinos]. That southern route is a beautiful corridor and would impact far too many property owners.

    Having lived and worked in Europe and being very familiar with their ped (and often’pet’) friendly shops and cafee’s, I tried to visualize a similar ambience here between sky and sun blocking high rise buildings. Somewhow, It’s just not the same at the bottom of a a human made canyon even if traffic is significantly reduced and bike and sidewalke facilities are in.

    The REAL views and potential to get people to walk, ride and shop face are north and south, west of the behemoth casino buildings. So, In short , LEAVE THE ROAD WHERE IT IS, Coordinate the traffic lights, maybe even take out one or two, but leave the hwy alone otherwise. Enhance the BACKSIDE of the cubs,and the adajacent area (and of course, ‘the hole’) on the CA. sidewe can create quiet, scenic, ped/bike accessable opportunities.

    WE can create an oasis of sorts with unique, botique shops, lodging and eateries. Themes are always a way to attract a specific demographic. Anyone view the sunset / sunrise from the street level in casino row??

    The trickiest part is what to do with the Horizon property and the whole ‘casinos vs. Ca. sentiment,. I envision a transit center, landscaped parking , bike etc. rental, pedi-bikes (Rickshaws) and acess to electric trollies and EV charging CA.The casinos have focused their views away from th street scene and a state-of-the-art convention, exposition, entertainment, educational center is constructed at the hole. we must ensure that the etire zone prospers.

    Now Im moving very far out on a slippery branch. IS it posssible for two states to form some sort of a BID in a specifically defined area? Would that not quiet the “voices of NV. vs. CA, if the entire “project” were sharing the entire enconomic pie?

    Would love to hear from some of you MBA’s or anyone who might hav an educated opinion on this.


  3. DAVID DEWITT says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    Our whole economy is based on gaming and it is a loosing proposition every one is getting in the game.we need a plan that does not depend on gaming and or the tourist trade we just need to sell our self as a nice place for winter sports and second homes. we need to stop the pie in the sky planning like the loop road or the hole what ever that was going to be. we have reduced our self to the point that we have to leave town to do normal shopping.Live by the tourist trade and die by the tourist trade.

  4. Biggerpicture says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    ‘we just need to sell our self as a nice place for winter sports and second homes.’

    David, I completely agree about gaming being the old grey mare, but you contradict yourself when speaking of tourism. Aren’t second home owners and winter AND summer sports enthusiasts basically a form of tourists? We are a resort town and there is no escaping OR changing that fact. We just need to hone our target market and then ACTUALLY cater to that market (i.e. creating a town with businesses that truly provide an excellent guest experience). Providing great service can be the only way our resort town can stand out from the 100’s of destination resorts in our country. We need to lose the attitude that tourist are lucky we are here for them, and start thinking with a mindset that projects the attitude that WE are lucky that tourist want to come here and spend their hard earned money!

  5. Joe Doaks says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    SLT is down to about 18,000 residents from the 23,000 plus stated on highway signs. Will the last person out please turn off the lights.

  6. X LOCAL says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    The lights went out when the people of S.L.T. re-elected Hal Cole and Tom Davis.
    Tahoe has been and will continue to go down hill and people will continue to leave this area until something is done in a positive way, it is almost impossible to afford to live here any longer.
    Tahoe looks like a ghost town anymore.
    Good luck to those who stay, it’s a sad day.

  7. Michael Thompson says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    I used to be a Winter and Sommer Tourist back in the 90’s

    Flying into Reno and grabbing the (No Stress Express) was an easy affordable way to visit Tahoe.

    I cannot say why? But I much preffered staying @ Harveys to the Horizon.

    I also hear from people who make this same trip that; it is no longer an easy trip, from the TSA Reno Airport the stress of the express and genral?? bad vibes.

    I am not sure what is wrong exactly but it seems a Summer or winter Vacation to SLT just aint All that anymore.

    Cannot really put my finger on it but, something is in general wrong.

    How is Harveys doing?

  8. Atomic says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    In the summer, ride your bike around the area NORTH of the hole, between the casinos and the beach. It’s like you are in some parallel south shore world, another time. Run down 50’s schlock is everywhere, abandoned hotels, ticky-tack weirdo multi-family units. Reminds me of Ski Run marina before they cleaned it up.

    I agree with Zorrro (3 r’s!), that area is where the energy needs to be. There are signs of life, some hotels being remodeled, a new home or two. Park Cattle will lead the way I believe in this area. Some may see Edgewood as the big gorilla and I think they are right, but for all the right reasons.

    Settle in though, this will take another 10 years to realize. Zorrro is right, incorporate the lake into the town and let’s be authentic. Some sidewalks, lighting in there, maybe a cafe or two. It’s coming, but it will be glacial…..

  9. Old Long Skiis says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    Yes, I’ve been keeping unconventioal hours for many years, 31 years to be exact. My old job required of me that I be awake at 2 or 3 A.M. I’m retired now but old habits are hard to break. Even my old dog is on the same schedule.
    You brought up several good points regarding the loop road, the hole and the Horizon property.
    There are lots of good ideas being floated around but it remains to be seen what actually comes to pass with the funding to make it real.
    I say NO to the loop road. It’s a worthless project displacing far too many people and hurting business. The hole needs to become a picnic area combined with a park/amphitheater.
    When the Horizon shuts down turn that into a large parking lot and a bloody useless convention center! Heck most of the convention centers at stateline are empty most of the time, so lets add one more empty building into the mix! A bit of sarcasm about the convention center at the Horizon. But who knows? Stranger things have happend in good old So. Shore. OLS

  10. Bijou Bill says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    The end of the good vibes tourists used to feel when visiting South Shore can be traced back to the day that quarterly reports to corporate became more important than customer satisfaction and service. I would say that was about the end of Reagan’s 1st term. 1984 or so. How ironic.

  11. Michael Thompson says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    In 2000 Before 9/11 I was walking back from McP’s I stopped in a little palce that sold tourist stuff and also did Hental? Painted on Tatto’s. I got an armband painted on. 5 days later I had it replaced with the real thing. 1 Off custom art that came from one of the curddy little places everyone was so keen to tear down. The residence of SLT need to take a hard look at that Hole, how the environment has become so complex that a private citezen cannot make any improvemt to a property. and your relationship with Huge publicly traded corperations. You asked for that hole. And you do not encourage a familly who might own a motel to make any kind of investment in the property.

    Just sayin.

    We collectivly kinda asked for it.

  12. Michael Thompson says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    To add You came sooo close to losing McP’s to that hole. Just imagne if the owner had not been very smart. That could be gone also.

  13. ljames says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    visualize a similar ambience here between sky and sun blocking high rise buildings. Somewhow, It’s just not the same at the bottom of a a human made canyon even if traffic is significantly reduced and bike and sidewalke facilities are in.

    Providing great service can be the only way our resort town can stand out from the 100′s of destination resorts in our country. We need to lose the attitude that tourist are lucky we are here for them, and start thinking with a mindset that projects the attitude that WE are lucky that tourist want to come here and spend their hard earned money!

    the two comments provided by others above hit the nail on the head! But as long as town is politically and financially dominated by folks whose short term economic interest does not lie in the investment of time, money and energy of implementing the above, and the typical Tahoe local – read, “voter” – just doesnt really give a s***, it seems like we face two choices: go down with the ship (which is sinking fast) or leave? It’s not very encouraging is it? It will take not just some good ideas, but a lot of people pressuring to have those good ideas implemented – so there is some critcal mass needed – as long as people in Meyers or at the Y act like the Stateline area might as well be on the moon – “hey, that’s not where I live or shop, so who cares” – it’s going to be a tough slog.

  14. dumbfounded says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    Bijou Bill has it nailed. Corporate America cannot see profit in customer service. When corporations took over the casinos from families, the management made more money, cut low paying jobs even lower, Nevada has no housing for low paying employees, the corporations cut benefits, California side pays for all the benefits, more unemployment followed, property values fell, tourists stopped coming because the casinos offered lousy service while the corporations that own the casinos cut even more employees, and the cycle continued. Corporate short-term profits killed yet another Golden Goose and brought down our city with them. Any further investment by the California side in helping the casinos is a fools errand.

    The City of South Lake Tahoe has become a burden and an obstruction to our future. It is an expense that was necessary and beneficial when the town was busy. We are not busy like that any longer and the City has lost it’s usefulness. Predictably, the City politicians say we should just spend more money. The residential base can’t afford their grand plans. We should go back to being a quiet resort area in a rural setting. I loved it then and will love it when we accept it. Decommission the City of South Lake Tahoe now.

  15. tahoeadvocate says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    Z, Atomic, et al,
    Your proposals about the area on the Lake side of Hwy 50 or the West side (Thru the casino area the Hwy runs North-South) fits the overall plans to make the area more lake and mountain friendly. This area is named Lakeside Park.
    The property owners in Lakeside Park have already taken steps through the years to support lake friendly access. The Lakeside Marina and Lakeside Beach are privately owned by the residents and ownership can be traced back to the 1860’s when Lapham owned the property. He had his Hotel along Lincoln Hwy and his Landing where the marina is today.

    Today’s property owners opened up these private facilities to the public about 20 years ago in support of letting all visitors, not just those staying in Lakeside Park hotels, to have close by lake access. These owners are now trying to see how to accomodate safe bike and pedestrian trails running through their neighborhood in a Visioning process which is trying to work with Edgewood and the City of SLT.
    There are well over 100,000 people who walk and ride through their streets during the year. They want to recognize the importance of their lake access to the wisitors while controlling the history of their neighborhood and their individaul homes.
    The neigborhood to the South (the Meadows) took a differnt approach by forming a homeowner association and fencing off their land and access to the beach for their use only (non commercial use).
    Let’s see what we all can do to support the residents of Lakeside Park in trying to improve their area for all visitors while keeping their businesses alive, their neighborhood quiet and retaining the history of South Lake Tahoe’s first subdivision.

  16. Critcalthinker55 says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    on the positive side I snow shoed out to the lake via barton meadows, about a mile trek one way. The views today were pristine, and absolutely beyond compare. Our natural beauty here, our greatest asset.

    I moved here 35 years ago, I chose lifestyle over career. Many years worked two jobs to stay.

    I for one love the redevelopment, the energy Vail has brought to Heavenly, and look forward to seeing what Edgewood properties can not only do with their new project but the Horizon as well.

    Progress comes in many shapes and sizes, I’m all for it.

  17. Zorrro says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    “I am not sure what is wrong exactly but it seems a Summer or winter Vacation to SLT just aint All that anymore.Cannot really put my finger on it but, something is in general wrong.”
    Michael Thompson

    Michael, Might I offer that what your feeling could be described the anachronism that is the Tahoe of todays world. It has not really identified itself as having a certain sense of place that is in sync with it’s stunning physical attributes and rich history. It’s infrastructure and absolute need to become a model community have not EVOLVED yet…
    but there is always hope when an opportunity to embrace the realities and technologies of the 21st Century present themselves..
    Doesn’t the Chinese word for ‘disaster’ translate to ‘opportunity’?

  18. 30yrlocal says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    An observation from someone who has been in customer service all their life: From many talks with our guests I have a common theme – They love Lake Tahoe, they love coming but they would love to feel special when they do. You don’t need a new city, you don’t need the hole fixed, you don’t need something fancy…you just need to be kind and friendly and engaging with our visitors. What good will a new and improved area be with lousy, unfriendly service? Doesn’t matter what kind of money you throw at it, it won’t work without people wanting to be there.

    You don’t have to work in any customer service industry to do your part. See someone wandering around looking for something? Offer to help ( I just did at Heavenly Village yesterday when walking out of a client’s business…a couple looked lost and I asked if I could help. I showed them to the restaurant they were looking for). Smile and say hi to people…both neighbor and visitor. Be polite…the list goes on. You wouldn’t believe the number of visitors I get to talk to that say the “service isn’t what it used to be” at some local businesses.

    PS: I, for one, agree with critical above, but engaging customer service will make Tahoe even better.

  19. tahoeadvocate says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    Right on 30yrlocal…..Pay it forward.

  20. Zorrro says - Posted: January 12, 2013

    !00% Agree 30 yr, ta. New and shiney only goes so far. A GENUINE desire to host people…not just invite them… is a vital part of the Basin Prosperity Plan as well as the foundation of geotourism. When it’s fun, engaging and educational for both visitors and hosts alike……then you’ve got the formula.