New Lake Tahoe resort project closer to breaking ground

Lake Tahoe has come one big step closer to seeing a new luxury casino-resort on its North Shore.

On Thursday, Southern California real estate investment firm EKN Development Group closed an $18 million deal to buy a beachfront property in Tahoe Vista currently occupied by Beesley’s Cottages, a cluster of rustic cabins with lakefront views near the Nevada border. It’s the final piece of a puzzle that EKN has been putting together since 2007, when it was awarded permit approvals for its resort project.

“People don’t realize that, in Lake Tahoe, it’s extremely difficult to get access to the lake. That’s why we bought this property,” Ebbie Nakhjavani, President & CEO of EKN Development Group, told The Chronicle.

In September, EKN purchased the Biltmore Lodge & Casino at Crystal Bay, a 75-year-old casino-hotel a stone’s throw from the cottage property, just over the Nevada border, for $56.8 million.

EKN plans to demolish both the casino and cottages and erect a new casino and 120-room hotel, plus 80 condominiums, retail space and a beach club, as well as a wedding and event venue, across both properties. The company plans to break ground in May 2022 and hopes to open in 2025, Nakhjavani said.

Nakhjavani wants to attract a marquee hotel brand and provide guests and residents with access to the lake, boats, restaurants, ski shuttles and more through a 24/7 concierge service.

“It will be very exclusive and all-inclusive,” he said.

He also hopes the development can cater to non-guest visitors who want to shop, eat or grab a drink at a proposed rooftop bar overlooking the lake.

Nakhjavani lives in Newport Beach and has skied Tahoe for 40 years, he said.

EKN’s portfolio includes hotels and shopping malls across California and in Las Vegas, most of which are located in urban areas. This will be its first foray into the Tahoe region.

Gregory Thomas is The Chronicle’s editor of lifestyle & outdoors. Email: gthomas@sfchronicle.com. Twitter: @GregRThomas

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