Larry Ellison Keeps Buying Lake Tahoe Hotels, Latest Hyatt Regency

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Larry Ellison Keeps Buying Lake Tahoe Hotels, Latest Hyatt Regency

Posted on: October 15, 2021, 01:12h.

Last updated on: October 15, 2021, 01:39h.

Devin O'Connor

Oracle billionaire founder Larry Ellison continues to purchase Lake Tahoe resorts.

Larry Ellison Lake Tahoe Hyatt Cal Neva
An aerial view of the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe resort grounds. The non-gaming property was recently acquired by billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison. (Image: Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe)

The Oracle founder’s latest purchase is the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. The man worth an estimated $125 billion recently acquired the Lake Tahoe non-gaming resort for $345 million from Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

The transaction includes roughly 25 acres of land on which the 422-room hotel and resort sits. Along with the main 12-story hotel, Ellison’s deal includes a dozen cottages and a boat slip. The Associated Press broke the news of the Ellison and Hyatt deal after reviewing Washoe County property records. The transaction was recorded on September 3.

Hyatt, nor Ellison’s camp, responded to inquiries for comment. Ellison’s Lawrence Investments LLC acquired the Lake Tahoe resort. The limited liability entity is fully controlled by the billionaire. He has previously used the vehicle to purchase other real estate assets in Nevada and California.

Ellison, the seventh-richest person on the planet, spends the majority of his time on Hawaii’s Lanai island. Ellison owns 98 percent of the 140 square mile island.

Fire Sale

Lake Tahoe has experienced record-setting fires in recent years, and that’s caused much concern among residents, resorts, and scientists.

Climate change has been largely blamed for the uptick in wildfires, although some question the state’s forest management. The Lake Tahoe water level is currently at its lowest in four years.

It’s a sign of change at the lake. Change is very difficult to manage. When we start seeing things we’ve never experienced before at a greater frequency, it’s challenging,” explained Geoffrey Schladow, director of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center and professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis.

Lake Tahoe was engulfed in smoke over the summer because of the raging Caldor fire, which left the region obscured by thick plumes of smoke. Scientists remain, analyzing the environmental impact of the wildfire, including the hazy water.

The environmental concerns have caused many homeowners to sell. There are currently almost 70 residential homes on the northern side of Lake Tahoe listed for $1 million or more. Nineteen have asking prices of at least $5 million.

Ellison Plans Murky

Larry Ellison purchased the defunct former Cal Neva Resort Hotel & Casino in 2018 for $35.8 million. Cal Neva, a former Rat Pack hangout that was briefly owned by Frank Sinatra, straddles the California-Nevada border.

Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe is three miles from Cal Neva by way the crow flies across Lake Tahoe’s Crystal Bay.

Ellison’s team announced three years ago this month that the billionaire would invest heavily to refurbish and bring back Cal Neva. But three years later, the property remains closed.

Another significant Lake Tahoe transaction was completed this week with the Tahoe Biltmore, which is just steps from Cal Neva, being sold for $56.8 million. The buyer was California-based real estate investment firm EKN Development Group.

EKN plans to continue operating the 113-room hotel and boutique casino, but also intends to expand the property on its 15-acre site. EKN says detailed plans will be later announced.

As for Ellison, much like the Lake Tahoe water, his vision is unclear for the future of Cal Neva and Hyatt Regency.