It looks like Larry Ellison wants to put his stamp on the Tahoe scene, and it's going to be by way of revamping a kitschy throwback to the Rat Pack era in the North Lake area. The Sacramento Bee reports, via U.S. Bankruptcy Court records, that Ellison’s Lawrence Investments has been cleared to purchase the 91-year-old Cal Neva Resort & Casino, which straddles the state line, for $35.8 million.
As the Sierra Sun explained back in March, the resort was purchased by a Napa-based real estate firm in 2013, closed for renovations, and then never reopened after workers walked off the job site in 2016 for lack of being paid. Then came the bankruptcy filing, and now four years on there's hope that the lakefront property may be reborn.
The place, with a ten-story hotel, lodge, and casino, has been a bit of faded nostalgia for the North Lake community for decades. Built in 1926, the Cal Neva resort burnt down and got rebuilt at least once in the 1930s, played host to celebrities and the Kennedy family throughout the 1950s, and then had a renaissance under new owners Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Chicago mobster Sam Giancana who purchased it in 1960. They added the Celebrity Room, as well as a helipad, and they opened it year-round it had previously only been open for the summer season.
Famously, in August 1962, via Robert Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe was put up at the resort for a weekend, one week prior to her death, and had to be rushed to the hospital because she attempted suicide and then called the reception desk to tell them.
Sinatra threw lavish parties for a years at the resort, hosting the likes of Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Kim Novak, Shirley MacLaine, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Lucille Ball, and Desi Arnaz, per Wikipedia.
Sinatra would ultimately lose his gambling license for a time due to a conflict with another mobster, and he would finally sell the property in 1968 to new owners who added the 200-room, 10-story addition.
It's unclear what Ellison plans to do with the property, which was mid-renovation when work stopped last year. Andy Chapman of the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau tells the Sac Bee, "I’m sure there’s quite a bit of work that still has to be done."
The Wall Street Journal has called Ellison "one of the nation’s most voracious consumers of trophy real estate," following his 2012 purchase of the Hawaiian island of Lana'i, his $200 million Japanese-style compound in Woodside, and a $42 million manse in Rancho Mirage.
Maybe this is just going to be his winter getaway for him and a couple hundred friends?