Controversial $1 billion Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows development gets green light

Controversial $1 billion Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows development gets green light

Last evening, in a four-to-one vote by California’s Placer County Board of Supervisors, it was decided that Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will see a massive development that has been the source of controversy for about five years.

While no specific plans are 100-percent set in stone, the project is slated to include 850 new hotel, condominium and residential units; a movie theater; a water park; an arcade; bowling alleys; an indoor sky diving facility; and rock climbing walls at and around the base of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. Additionally, a village is planned to accompany everything, including storefronts, restaurants, bars, employee housing and parking lots. To make room, two of the three original 1960 Winter Olympics buildings remaining in the area would be demolished. All of this is estimated to cost $1 billion and take 25 years to complete.

The group largely behind the development is Denver-based KSL Capital Partners, an investment firm that has been challenged by the local community for some time. Opponents have argued that the development will negatively impact the environment, particularly the Shirley Canyon area where many housing units are slated to go up. Many other concerns are present, as well, such as obstructed views—the highest building is estimated to be 96 feet tall—and destruction of the area’s unique culture.

“People feel a sense of powerlessness,” said local skiing legend Robb Gaffney at a public hearing yesterday.

Some local businesspeople and skiers have supported the project, though, arguing the project is good for the economy, including skiing icon Jonny Moseley and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows CEO Andy Wirth.

“The approval of this project will allow us to compete in an industry that is hypercompetitive,” Wirth argued at the hearing.

Yesterday’s hearing saw hundreds of attendees, most of which objected the development. However, in the end, a decision was made that this project will in fact go through. Again, no specific details are entirely confirmed, but the Squaw Valley area will certainly see vast changes over the months and years to come.

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