December 3, 2017; South Tahoe Now
In Squaw Valley, California, the formation of a new foundation has been announced: the Squaw Valley Foundation, financed by a Lake Tahoe redevelopment project.
The project is designed with sustainability in mind. South Tahoe Now reports that, “Ninety percent of the redevelopment will happen on existing asphalt parking lots already zoned for development. The project will provide new on-site lodging and recreation opportunities, create more year-round local jobs, offer on-site affordable workforce housing, rehabilitate Squaw Creek, and provide over $22 million in annual tax revenue to help fund public services including schools, road improvements, transit services and public safety.”
The Squaw Valley area first saw major development when it hosted the Winter Olympics in 1960 which was the first Olympics to be televised live in the United States). Last year, the county board approved a plan for a redevelopment project at Squaw Valley Village over a 25-year period, with costs estimated at nearly $1 billion. The project applicant, Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, voluntarily committed to use a 1.5 percent transfer fee to generate as much as $15 million in first-time real estate sales and a total of $75 million over the course of 30 years to reinvest in the Squaw Valley area through the Square Valley Foundation.
Management of these funds has been handed over to the newly created Squaw Valley Foundation, which will be directed by a seven-member board. The board for that foundation will be made up of representatives of a variety of stakeholder groups, including residents, business owners, second homeowners, and a public district employee.
Exactly how the funds will be invested is not stated in the reports, but the foundation is at least partially modelled after the nearby Martis Fund, a collaborative project of development partners in the area. The Martis Fund is funded through “community development fees” that are levied on the sale of a house. Those funds are used to “conserve open space, manage and restore habitat and forest lands, and support workforce housing and related community purposes in the Martis Valley and greater Placer County region.”
It should be noted that the Squaw Valley Foundation has arisen after years of debate about the redevelopment project, which was originally proposed in 2011 by Squaw Valley Real Estate LLC. Since then the project has been scaled down from 3,187 hotel and condominium spaces to around 1,500. The project will also include a signature indoor mountain adventure center (with climbing walls, swimming pools, and so forth).
Andy Wirth, president and COO of the parent company that currently owns the property in Squaw Valley, hopes the board will emerge as a “diverse set of individuals that represent the brightest, most creative, engaged and broadest thinkers possible who also maintain a passion for our legendary mountains and our community.”—Rob Meiksins
Correction: This article has been altered from its original form. Squaw Valley Ski holdings volunteered to use the 1.5 percent transfer fee; that was not a requirement by the county.