Northern California came through the Great Recession in far better shape economically than most other regions of the country and hasn’t looked back. Anchoring the region is the San Francisco Bay Area, the innovation capital of the world, which recently has attracted around 40% of all US venture capital investment. Many leading technology firms call the region home including Google, Facebook, Oracle, Salesforce, Twitter, EBay, LinkedIn, Uber and many others. Only New York, London, Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing headquarter more Fortune Global 500 firms.
The region is widely considered to be one of the most desirable places to live and visit in the world. Over 70 billionaires call the Bay Area home. San Francisco has the second highest number of millionaires per capita of any city in the US. Northern California is well-known for its exceptional beauty and temperate climate, from the world-renowned Napa Valley wine country to the dramatic Big Sur coastline to picturesque Lake Tahoe.
The playground of the Bay Area, Lake Tahoe is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains along the border between California and Nevada. A major tourist attraction and retirement destination in both Nevada and California, the Reno-Tahoe area draws 4.3 Million visitors annually with South Shore having 2.8 Million visitors annually. Lake Tahoe is a true four-season destination. During the winter months, the area offers the largest concentration of ski resorts in North America. Skiers can hit the slopes on one of Tahoe area’s hundreds of ski trails in the midst of over 24,000 total ski resort acres, enjoy snowmobiling, snow-shoeing, or cross-country skiing in backcountry tranquility. For the remainder of the year, the area’s renowned lake and mountainous geography form a spectacular setting for a variety of activities including watersports, hiking, golfing, biking and fishing. In addition to endless recreational options in all four seasons, Lake Tahoe’s hospitality, dining, shopping, gaming and entertainment venues make it an ideal vacation and retirement destination.
The Lake’s cobalt blue water, spectacular alpine setting, and remarkable water clarity is recognized worldwide. Sitting at an elevation of 6,225 feet, it measures 12 miles wide by 22 miles long. With a depth of 1,645 feet, it is the second deepest lake in the United States after Crater Lake. Lake Tahoe is the sixth largest lake by volume in the United States behind the five Great Lakes.
Lake Tahoe experiences 270 sunny days each year, with a year-round average high temperature of 56 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low of 31 degrees Fahrenheit. At lake level, annual snowfall averages 125 inches, mostly between November and May. At higher elevations, 300 to 500 inches of average annual snowfall provides excellent skiing and snowboarding.
The Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO)
Located 5 minutes from downtown Reno and 60 minutes from The Chateau, is the 2nd busiest airport in Nevada serving approximately 4 million passengers per year. Seven different airlines offer service at RNO with 12,700 seats available through the airport each day and direct flights to Europe. In 2015 RNO started a twice-weekly direct flight to London via Thomas Cook Airlines, a luxury service carrier, during the ski season December through April. There is a direct shuttle service from Reno/Tahoe International Airport to a number of South Lake Tahoe stops with 11 regular departures daily.
The Lake Tahoe Airport
Located 15 minutes from The Chateau and, in keeping with City government and regional goals, is a top-class general aviation facility.
Known as “The Biggest Little City in the World”, Reno is famous for its casinos and as the birthplace of Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Reno is the most populous Nevada city after Las Vegas, with a population of ±233,294 in the city and ±430,000 in the greater metropolitan area. Apple is expanding its current data center, Switch is building a new $1 Billion SUPERNAP data center, and Tesla is to build a $5 Billion lithium car battery plant. Numerous other companies have either manufacturing or distribution centers such as E-Bay, Amazon, Zulily, Urban Outfitters, Toys-R-Us, Barnes & Noble, Dell Computers, Fed-Ex, Alcoa, Wal-Mart, PetSmart and REI. These companies have chosen to locate in the Reno area to take advantage of the strong Reno workforce, cheap geo-thermal power, proximity to the Bay Area and lower taxes.
With a combined population of about 40,000, South Lake Tahoe, CA, the adjoining town of Stateline, NV and the surrounding area has the largest population and concentration of retail, gaming, and entertainment square footage in the Basin. Highways provide year-round access from the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Reno. Access from the California side to South Lake is via US 50, a four-lane highway into the Sierra Nevada foothills where it becomes mainly two lanes. Drive times average about 3.5 hours from the Bay Area.
Bus lines and commercial airlines also serve the area. Lake Tahoe Airport, adjacent to US Highway 50 at the south end of the city, is a general aviation facility with modern instrumentation and an 8,500 foot runway. The Reno-Tahoe International Airport provides commercial service to the area.
Heavenly is California and Lake Tahoe’s largest mountain resort with over 4,800 skiable acres situated between California and Nevada. It also boasts Tahoe’s highest summit of 10,067 feet, longest vertical drop at 3,500 feet and the longest run at 5 miles. 73% of trails are covered by the West Coast’s largest and most powerful snowmaking system. Heavenly attracts an average of 900,000 total skier visits annually.
Heavenly offers Tahoe’s finest amenities featuring the on-mountain 15,000 square foot Tamarack Lodge, a LEED-certified restaurant and bar situated at 9,150 feet.
When Vail resorts acquired Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort in 2002, it invested over $40 million in capital improvements including the 2.4 mile Gondola, numerous high speed chairs, increased acreage of skiable terrain and state of the art snow making equipment for 70% of the skiable terrain. Vail is nearing approvals on a $50 million master plan for additional improvements to the area. Vail Resorts is highly vested in the Tahoe area and also owns Northstar and Kirkwood ski resorts.
Within 100 yards of Chateau at the Village is the Heavenly Mountain Resort which provides access to the largest ski area in the Tahoe Basin.
Both Marriott’s 261-unit Timber Lodge (timeshare) and Marriott’s 199-unit Grand Residences (fractional ownership) were built in 2002 by Marriott for a total cost of over $400 million. The Grand Residences also include about 68,000 square feet of retail space. The Timber Lodge subsequently was expanded by 150 units. Recently, Marriott completed a $23 Million refurbishment program to the common areas, pool and rooms.
New high end shops and restaurants were added, making Heavenly Village one of the best amenities for after skiing activities including a movie theatre playing feature films, Starbucks café, several wine stores, art galleries, jewelry stores, clothing and sports equipment shops such as Patagonia.
Edgewood Tahoe, 4 blocks from the subject site on the Nevada side, is easily accessible. Set along the south shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe, Edgewood Tahoe is arguably one of the most scenic golf courses in the world. Designed by George Fazio and opened in 1968, Edgewood is rated by Golf Digest Magazine as one of “America’s Top Golf Courses.” Most notably, for the last twenty-five years, Edgewood Tahoe has been the home of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship.
A 194 unit resort hotel is planned along this 18-hole championship golf course.
Substantially renovated and expanded in 2004, this property contains about 42,800 square feet of retail shops, anchored by a Raley’s supermarket, just one block south of Chateau at the Village.
This 400 room upscale hotel was developed in 1991. In 2013, it ended its association with Embassy Suites and now operates independently. It is the largest allsuite resort in Lake Tahoe and is directly across from Chateau Village.
A specialty retail center completed in 2004, this structure contains about 31,000 square feet and is due north of the Marriott resorts.
Within walking distance to Chateau at the Village, the four major Tahoe casino hotels offer some of the best entertainment venues for Northern California. These include; Caesars Entertainment’s Harrah’s & Harveys, MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa, which is currently undergoing a $24 Million renovation, and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tahoe which just opened after a $60 Million renovation of the old Horizons Hotel. The hotels and casinos not only provide exciting gambling venues, luxury accommodation with top-notch restaurants, but also attract big-name entertainment. Dave Matthews Band, Aerosmith, Kenny Chesney, Jackson Brown and Sammy Hagar have recently performed.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
At the beginning of 2015, new operators Warner Hospitality opened the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tahoe after a $60 Million renovation of the old Horizons Hotel. Hard Rock Hotel is one of the most iconic and widely recognized names and brands worldwide. The property features 539 rooms and suites, a 25,000 square foot casino, multiple restaurants and bars, a vast collection of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia and shopping. It also offers the largest pool area in Lake Tahoe. Hard Rock Hotel offers an assortment of live entertainment both indoors and out.
Harvey’s Lake Tahoe
The property includes 740 rooms and suites, an 87,500 square foot casino, restaurants and an acclaimed outdoor summer concert series.
Harrah’s Lake Tahoe
The property features 525 rooms and suites, a 65,000 square foot casino, and restaurants. Indoor and outdoor entertainment options featuring some of the biggest musical acts in the world, including Bruno Mars who performed in the summer of 2014.
The property features 437 rooms and suites, a 45,000 square foot casino and fine dining. It is known for its great performers, including The Beach Boys, Boz Scaggs, Foreigner and Little River Band.
Over 1.1 million vacation homes were purchased in the US last year, exceeding the last peak in 2006, according to the National Association of Realtors. Such properties accounted for 21% of all home sales last year, the largest share since the Realtors began tracking this data.
Very little new product has been developed so far during this cycle in the South Lake Tahoe market. Thus, while supportive comparable sales data is scarce, the Chateau will face virtually no competition in marketing a higher end product. Available sales data indicates the market would absorb a residential offering from the Chateau at higher price points.
One of the few Lake Tahoe areas to deliver higher end product recently is Northstar. Pricing in Northstar Village has achieved $800 - $900 per saleable square foot with unit sizes averaging 1,200-1,500 sf. Condominiums at the Ritz-Carlton at Northstar average about 2,000 ssf with recent pricing over $1,600 psf. The characteristics of this location are arguably inferior to the Chateau environment. Northstar is a 10-minute drive to the Lake rather than a 10-minute walk from the Chateau. Outside of the winter season, activity at Northstar is significantly diminished.
With almost no delivery of new product in 10 years, in South Lake Tahoe, reliance on sales data from older units erroneously skews average pricing downwards. The pricing premium of newly constructed units over older existing units in the same immediate area exceeds 50 per cent.
South Lake Tahoe is the top overall Tahoe Basin destination for 56% of all travellers. About 57% of the stays are 3-7 days in length. 2014 gaming revenue of $208 million has helped recent occupancy levels. However, the recreation and entertainment destination economy is the new driving force. There are 5,174 non-casino hotel rooms, 2,246 hotel casino rooms and 4,324 fractional/time shares in the South Lake Tahoe submarket. Submarket ADRs for upper priced hotel accommodations have been in the $145 range with average occupancies of 60%. Casino hotel occupancy rates have increased 11% year-over-year based upon the most recent statistics available. Weekend rates for casino hotels average over $500 per night.
City of South Lake Tahoe has ±2,858,989 square feet of commercial space including retail, office and industrial uses. ±424,316 square feet of retail space is within the Stateline/Ski-Run Plan Area. The largest retail centers are the Shops at Heavenly Village and the Village Center totaling ±152,069 square feet of retail space. The average occupancy rate is in the ±92% range with higher end retail, such as the Shops at Heavenly Village and the Village Center, typically achieving higher occupancy levels. The higher end retail locations achieve rents in excess of $5.00 (NNN) per square foot per month.
In 2002-2005, the newly built Marriott Grand Residences Club annualized timeshare sales were studios-$300,000, 1 bedroom-$600,000, 2 bedroom-$1,000,000 and penthouse suites-$1,500,000-$2,000,000. Since that time period the turnover rate has been limited. Indicative of the desirability of the South Lake Tahoe and Heavenly location, 2 bedroom annualized HOA dues being paid are in the range of $50,000.