Mixed-use retail likely at Ski Run-Hwy. 50

A developer bought this parcel from South Lake Tahoe for $1.1 million. Photo/LTN file

A developer bought this parcel from South Lake Tahoe for $1.1 million. Photo/LTN file

By Kathryn Reed

One of South Lake Tahoe’s prime pieces of real estate may be more than a plot of dirt 18 months from now.

Halferty Development Corporation out of Pasadena has until June 1, 2016, to obtain a building permit for the nearly 1.5 acres at the corner of Highway 50 and Ski Run Boulevard and still retain incentives from the city.

The City Council on Jan. 20 unanimously agreed to sell the parcel to the developer for $1.1 million. For that amount the city is also throwing in 12,000 square feet of commercial floor area (CFA) if the developer follows an agreed-upon timeline.

The property did not have any CFA or tourist accommodation units (TAU). It does have coverage and 88 parking spaces in the garage next door. How many more parking spaces it will have depends on the building and the design.

CFA and TAUs are commodities the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency came up with years ago to regulate growth, but instead have backfired a bit by creating a less than free market for development and value in items that don’t exist elsewhere in the world.

The city acquired this property from the South Lake Tahoe Redevelopment Agency for $800,000 after the state dissolved redevelopment agencies. At that time the council borrowed the money from reserves with the intent that it be returned to that pot. However, City Manager Nancy Kerry pointed out that this council may do what it likes with the $1.1 million. The council did not discuss where the proceeds would go.

A mixed-use retail center with the possibility of tourist units on the second floor is one concept. The city has been promised a drive-through drug store will not be going there. Other developers have wanted to build one, and Halferty has experience doing so.

James Halferty was not available for comment. He was one of three developers vying for the land.

Mayor Hal Cole told Lake Tahoe News the Southern California firm was chosen because it has the most experience, has the ability to start right away and came up with a price the city liked. Plus, Halferty was willing to give the city more control than the others.

“The most important thing is that it needs to look nice,” Cole said.

He knows tenants will change through the years, but he wants a building that will last 50 years, not look dated and rundown. During council member comments Cole expressed his frustration with the Auto Zone and BevMo buildings looking like they could be built in any town. He wants a more rigorous design standard so there is more of a mountain feel to what is built going forward. He is proposing the Planning Commission have more input into design.

How many millions of dollars Halferty will invest remains to be seen.

And if lodging is part of the project, he will have to obtain TAUs. Kerry said the city would work with smaller hotels and those wanting to buy them to help make that a reality.

A possible use is some sort of food court that would be attractive to the summer beach crowd and winter skiers. It could be grab and go, as well as have areas to sit around fire pits.

“He said to the negotiating committee, ‘What do you really want and I’ll build it’,” Kerry said. But with its being a small parcel, the options are somewhat limited.

There will be entrances off both streets. And pedestrians will get a crosswalk from this site to Ski Run Marina across Highway 50.

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Comments (19)
  1. fromform says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    re: hal cole frustration, bevmo is not bad, aesthetically, but autozone…

  2. Atomic says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    The Planning Commision doesn’t have design input now?! Are you kidding me? So new building designs are approved by who and to what aesthetic standard?

  3. sunriser2 says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    Both structures look a hell of a lot better than what was there.

  4. Steve buttling says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    I see improvements at both locations , but where did the logic go ?
    Building rooftops with very little pitch In the snow zone , well if it ever snows again ?
    Should not be permitted ??
    It’s cheaper yes but Bev Mo and Auto zone would have looked 100% better with a pitched roof 6/12 ??
    Can’t believe plans and drawings were not available to the council before construction started.
    The train has left the station.

  5. Hikerchick says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    I hope City staff can remember to work with this concept: PERFORMANCE BOND

    Also, in a ski town with no snow perhaps it would be prudent to consider that outdoor fire pits spewing pollutants into the air would look like a conflict of interest.

  6. Cautious and Skeptical says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    This is what you get with handing over approval authority to the local jurisdictions. No real oversight or design review before approval of smaller projects.

  7. sunriser2 says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    I think all three properties are within a TRPA scenic view corridor. Unless the TRPA has delegated this review to the city the builders would have had to complete a scenic view corridor questionnaire.

  8. sunriser2 says - Posted: January 21, 2015


    Who would benefit from the completion bond? Would the property revert to the city, the lender etc.. to finish the project. The only reason for a bond would be to allow a certificate of occupancy before the public improvements were installed because of winter.

    If the city would have forced the hole in the ground to adhere to accepted development standards a bond would not have been needed.

    Look at Lakeside Inn when they remodeled the Timbers. Lakeside or Hard Rock didn’t give Douglas County completion bonds. The contractors gave Lakeside and Hard Rock bonds in case their companies failed for whatever reason BK, Death, Divorce, Lawsuits …etc.

  9. Tinfoilhat says - Posted: January 21, 2015


  10. Noel says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    In and Out. There commissary truck already comes through town every other day on it’s trip from Carson City to Placerville returning to Sacramento. The make the loop to Auburn, Reno, Sparks, CC, and Pville 3 times a week. It seems like a no brainer financially. I have spoken to their management and I always assumed the lack of a drive through was a non-starter. They informed me they have over 30 locations that are walk in only. Come on City Father get off your ass and make this happen. Think of the sales tax revenue.

  11. Old Long Skiis says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    Noel, I agree. I think an In and Out would be a good choice for the corner of 50 and Ski Run. I’m sure they would do a booming business with that location. Much better than a group of retail stores like the ones we already have that are struggling to get by. OLS

  12. sunriser2 says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    I think In and Out would be great. Just think a fast food joint that pays their employees more than Vail pays its middle management.

  13. Steve says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    In n Out has already turned down a location at South Lake Tahoe, including specifically Hwy. 50 at Ski Run, the numbers do not pencil to their requirements. As of a couple years ago, other than a couple of holiday weekends, neither demographics nor traffic counts qualify for an In n Out location. Same story for Trader Joe’s. But fantasizing for such is indeed fun.

  14. Old Long Skiis says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    Since a developer bought the property at the corner of Ski Run and 50, it’s there call as to what they do with it. The purchaser got that for a good price, by the way!
    Sure an In and Out would be be great, but we’ll probably end up with a t-shirt shop, ski rental in the winter and bike and paddle board rental in the summer, a tattoo parlor, a medical marijuauna dispensery, and a coffee shop.
    To quote David Bryrne from the talking heads song, “Same as it ever was”. Take care, OLS

  15. fromform says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    corporate at ‘in and out’ already saw the handwriting on the wall and doesn’t want their premises populated by a new wave of the con-artist homeless that over run raley’s. might as well build a ‘warming shelter’ for them at the ski run location.

  16. reloman says - Posted: January 21, 2015

    If you go to the buyers website you may get a hint of what the anchor store will be, can we say drug store.

  17. Mr mustache says - Posted: January 22, 2015

    Autozone looks atrocious.

  18. rock4tahoe says - Posted: January 22, 2015

    I agree that the Bevmo and Auto Zone look much better then what was there last year, but another Burger joint… not sure about that.

  19. Perry R. Obray says - Posted: January 22, 2015

    Seems there isn’t enough emphasis on passive solar energy. Can’t believe buildings don’t need to be smoged. Supposedly around half the energy in this country is consumed by buildings. Let’s get off fossil fuels and foreign enemy/questionable friends manipulation energy game.