The historic Cal Neva Resort hotel and casino in Lake Tahoe, until recently owned by bankrupt businessman Ezri Namvar, has been put up for sale by its new Century City owner.
Canyon Capital Realty Advisors LLC is selling the property -- which it has valued at roughly $35 million -- after taking possession of it in April outside of bankruptcy proceedings.
Canyon Capital said it has received more than 150 unsolicited calls from potential buyers including hotel, gaming and entertainment companies. Canyon took ownership after one of Namvar's limited liability companies defaulted on a $27 million mortgage from the real estate investment adviser.
"There was so much interest on the project coming from different levels of investors," said Senior Director Richard Bosworth. "Because Lake Tahoe is underrepresented with national and international hotel brands, this is very much a hotel play on one hand. On the other hand, this is a high-visibility resort casino."
Canyon Capital has hired CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the large Los Angeles brokerage, to handle the sale.
The 83-year-old resort was owned by Frank Sinatra in the early 1960s and became a Rat Pack hangout until Sinatra lost his casino license when it became known a notorious mobster frequented the resort.
The resort complex, which includes a 219-room hotel and casino, was among the more high-profile properties owned by Namvar, who was forced into bankruptcy by his creditors in December. Namvar's real estate empire collapsed amid the sharp decline in property values in the second half of 2008. At one point his portfolio was valued at $2.43 billion.
Namvar and his Namco Capital Group Inc. investment company owe more than a half-billion dollars to 464 creditors. Namvar, who has been accused of running a Ponzi scheme, is now under federal investigation.
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