The Cal-Neva, the storied Lake Tahoe resort once owned by Frank Sinatra, has yet another new owner.
McWhinney, a Denver-based real estate firm that owns the luxury hotel brand Proper, has purchased the property at Crystal Bay on Lake Tahoe—shuttered since 2013—from a group including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison for an estimated $58 million.
Eillison’s group had bought the Cal-Neva in 2018 for $35.8 million, with an ambitious plan to remodel it into a luxury property, but those plans never materialized.
McWhinney plans to reopen the group under its Proper Hospitality luxury “hospitality lifestyle portfolio.”
“We are thrilled for the opportunity to craft the next iteration of this one-of-a-kind resort,” McWhinney CEO Chad McWhinney said, according to the Reno Gazette Journal. “Our vision is to reimagine and revitalize this iconic resort with deep historic roots into an exceptional experience for guests and the local community to enjoy for years to come.”
McWhinney is partnering with real estate investment and management company Kor Group and luxury boutique operator Proper Hospitality to transform the Cal Neva into a Proper-branded resort.
“We believe the approach Proper Hospitality takes with each of our distinctive projects is the perfect fit for such a rare property,” said Brad Korzen, CEO of Proper Hospitality and the Kor Group, according to the Gazette Journal. “We strive to create an experience that is anchored to its location and creates long-term lasting value that supports the local community.”
Originally opened in 1926, the Cal-Neva, straddling the California-Nevada border, became a favorite haunt of the wealthy, including Joseph P. Kennedy, who visited frequently with his family. Entertainer Frank Sinatra, a frequent guest during the 1950s, purchased a share in the resort in 1960, and acquired controlling interest in 1962.
Sinatra added the Celebrity Room, which featured his friends Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin frequently, and celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Shirley MacLaine and others frequented the resort, staying in private bungalows.
Sinatra was forced to sell his interest in the property after the FBI spotted Chicago mobster Sam Giancana at the hotel.
The casino has been through a parade of owners over the years, and many failed attempts at renovation.