On top of the challenge of coming onstream during the pandemic, the Stateline, Nev. club has had to meet special requirements tied to the rare chance to create a new property alongside one of the nation’s most protected and unspoiled treasures.
GERRY De YOUNG’s career in facilities management and engineering for various hotel and resort properties on the shores of Lake Tahoe goes back over 40 years, to the days when the area was one of only a few places in the U.S. that offered legalized casino gambling (on its Nevada shoreline), along with Las Vegas and Reno in Nevada and Atlantic City in New Jersey.
The lure of gambling has long since ceased to be a unique distinction for the Lake Tahoe region, with slot machines and casinos now found in convenience stores, airports and small towns throughout Nevada, and half of all U.S. states now permitting some sort of land- or water-based gaming. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the special nature of facilities development and management for any property along Lake Tahoe, which is carefully regulated by two states (the border between Nevada and California splits the lake) and is subject to additional scrutiny and protection by a host of environmental and planning authorities.
So when De Young became part of the management team charged with implementing plans for the Tahoe Beach Club (TBC) in Stateline, Nev., as part of the first full-ownership lakefront community created in the region in over 30 years, he was well-prepared to deal with regulations that have included requirements to pump all effluent a considerable distance away from the lake on existing sewer lines, and restrictions prohibiting construction that involves any movement of dirt between October 15th and May 1st.
However, as the project—which began when 20 acres of land leading up to the shoreline that had previously housed a mobile home park and airport strip was acquired in 2002, and for which construction started in 2015—finally neared completion, a new wrinkle arose that even a veteran like De Young and others on the TBC development team hadn’t anticipated. But even with the added challenges of the pandemic, the grand opening of TBC’s clubhouse still came off as scheduled on July 3, 2020—and the club has continued to gain momentum and show growth in the year following that event.
If anything, in fact, the pandemic may have proved to be a blessing in disguise for TBC. The Lake Tahoe region had one of its busiest tourist seasons in 2020, with residents of San Francisco, Sacramento and other cities in California, Nevada and the West quickly identifying it as one of the best places to escape COVID-induced claustrophobia, especially on the less-restrictive Nevada side.
While many of those visitors didn’t match the club’s target demographics, it did open some new eyes to the appeal of the region and the special tax advantages that could be gained by acquiring property on the Nevada side (TBC waives its initiation fee for those who purchase what eventually will be 143 condominiums within its gates, with full completion scheduled for August 2023; resident and non-resident memberships are also available for non-property owners).
And for those who were a better fit with the membership profile—and especially those already on board—getting TBC open in the midst of all of 2020’s activity helped to highlight its special appeal as a uniquely private space for enjoying all that the lake and its surrounding area has to offer.
“Our existing residents and members found us to be a sanctuary,” says Membership Director Jessica Albee. “And the club showed especially well to those who had come to the region for the first time and were curioius about what we had created.”
A unique hospitality suite within the clubhouse, which includes bunk beds to accommodate families, has also given the club a special opportunity to showcase its amenities and features to buyers and prospective members while they’re checking on the progress of their properties, or through discovery visits.
TBC also tapped the expertise of another veteran presence in the region to be able to staff up for its clubhouse opening at a time when many in the workforce chose to sit on the sidelines. Bobby King, a longtime General Manager of the golf operation at the Edgewood Tahoe Resort that neighbors the TBC property, was instrumental in attracting top talent to the club while serving as its initial GM (King has since moved to the role of Director of Residential Services, with Kevin Speer arriving earlier in 2021 from the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore in Santa Barbara, Calif. to become TBC’s General Manager/COO).
Tahoe Beach Club’s proximity to the Edgewood property afforded it a further boost of recognition when the National Hockey League staged outdoor games in February 2021 on a rink built on the 18th fairway of the Edgewood course. In addition to showing the viewing world spectacular views of the lake and its surrounding scenery, the broadcast of the games created a surreal memory for those in the TBC clubhouse, who could either watch the action on a big-screen TV in the dining or bar venues, or simply turn and look out a picture window to see it live.
As the first full year of operation has unfolded for the club, all signs have continued to point to effective and timely positioning of TBC as a unique option for taking full advantage of all that the Tahoe region has to offer. “It used to be there wasn’t much to do around here for some months of the year, and there were definitely shoulder seasons,” says De Young. “But the region is now being remarketed as a year-round destination, and with the Heavenly Ski Resort [just across the state line in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.] now owned by Vail Resorts, we’re seeing a lot more awareness being generated of how even that property also offers summer activities, like tubing and hiking.”
And all of that, Speers adds, “plays into our hands perfectly as a club.” At the same time, TBC is making sure the word is out about what it can provide to area visitors and residents that they can’t find anywhere else, such as its spa’s “Wellness Cocoon”—an egg-shaped detoxing pod that enhances relaxation by using infrared radiant-heat technology, and is “the only one in greater Tahoe,” according to Speer.
TBC is also making sure to position itself as the new arrival that appreciates and wants to help to preserve and present the region’s best face, by partnering with environmental groups for area cleanups, and featuring local talent in its member-event schedules.
At A Glance
TAHOE BEACH CLUB
Location: Stateline, Nev.
Members: 145 and growing
Clubhouse Size: 28,000 sq. ft.
Clubhouse Design: Swaback Architects
General Manager/COO: Kevin Speer
Membership Director: Jessica Albee
Director of Facilities: Gerry De Young
Executive Chef: Dave Lundgren
Director of Spa & Fitness: Courtney Larsen
Outdoor Pursuits Director: Jocelyn Myers
Kids’ Zone Manager: Erin Barter