The Cal Neva Resort & Casino in Lake Tahoe was to open in time for Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday on December 12, but delays ensued, and the casino now is to open in May.
The resort is located along the north shore of Lake Tahoe and has been a popular tourist destination since it first opened in 1926. It has a 10-story hotel with 191 rooms.
Sinatra bought the Cal Neva in 1960, and it served as a mountain resort for the famed Rat Pack, until Old Blue Eyes sold it after losing his gaming license in 1963. An FBI agent saw infamous Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana on the property.
The casino remained popular among Lake Tahoe visitors, who enjoy the resort’s gambling and Rat Pack heritage, but it ran into financial difficulty in recent years, largely due to increased competition from area tribal casinos.
Criswell Radovan of St. Helena, Montana, bought the Cal Neva in 2013 and closed it as the end of the year, saying he would renovate it with a planned 2014 reopening.
Criswell ran into funding difficulties and had to delay the opening by another year after finally finding a Texas backer for the Cal Neva’s $49 million renovation.
The delays partly were caused by the discovery of asbestos and other hazardous materials, which required special handling and disposal.
When the resort does reopen, Starwood Hotels will operate it and include the Cal Neva among its portfolio of boutique resort hotels that it operates.