Placer Supervisors provide guidance on next steps for Tahoe City firehouse redevelopment

Published on April 25, 2018

Two proposed concepts to redevelop the Tahoe City firehouse properties near Commons Beach in Tahoe City were presented to the Placer County Board of Supervisors today, who directed county staff to further study the financial and development feasibility of the two ideas.

The county-owned Tahoe City firehouse properties include three buildings: the former North Tahoe Fire Station 51, Tahoe Community Center building and the former visitor center building. Located in the heart of Tahoe City, the lakeside property offers access to outstanding recreation and proximity to the Tahoe City town center, transit hubs, bike trails, ski resorts, marinas and residential communities.

Placer began searching for a partner to redevelop the properties in November 2017, considered a key piece of the county’s overall efforts to reinvigorate the downtown core of Tahoe City.

The first proposal, The Commonwell, features a market hall concept similar to the Ferry Building in San Francisco, coupled with community amenities like an outdoor pool and waterfront amphitheater. It would also include seasonal lakeside retail, a plaza deck and ground- level parking underneath the project site.

The second proposal, Siren Arts at Tahoe City, features flexible-use performance space that could accommodate up to 250 people, combined with retail and exhibition galleries, artist studios and multi-use classrooms. It would also include a rooftop deck, kitchen, office space for local cultural non-profit organizations and workforce housing.

“I am delighted to see these two projects moving forward as they each have incredible potential to revitalize Tahoe City,” said District 5 Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery. "This has been a great public process that has been very responsive to community input. I would encourage us to do as much as possible to move this process forward.”

"As this goes forward I would like staff to pay close attention to what's estimated for the economic benefits generated by the two potential uses, because I think that's a key concern,” said District 4 Supervisor Kirk Uhler.

Placer began working with stakeholders in April 2017 through a series of community workshops to seek feedback and input on the best use for the site. The community’s vision for the properties was shared as part of a request for information solicitation to invite proposals, resulting in four submissions. Those four proposals were reviewed by a review committee comprised of four county staff and four community members, with two finalists selected as being most in line with the community’s vision for further study.

“Tahoe community members have stepped up to help us find a solution for these properties,” said Jennifer Merchant, Placer County’s deputy county executive officer for Lake Tahoe. “It is abundantly clear that people want this to be a spot that complements the surrounding area and activates Tahoe City.”

In an update to the Board of Supervisors today, senior project manager Suzy Vose said the review committee has recommended to staff that The Commonwell and Siren Arts of Tahoe City submitters be invited to participate in the needed financial and development feasibility studies.

Vose also noted that while the two other concept submissions, which include a ski museum and ale house, were deemed too narrow to address community preferences, the review committee agreed there could be possible opportunities to incorporate some of their uses into an ultimate proposal.

Consistent with the board’s recommendation county staff have applied for a $250,000 Tahoe Tourism Master Plan grant to cover the costs for further study of the projects’ and site’s financial feasibility.

Staff will return to the board at a later date to provide an update of the study results