New owners pledge to restore Clear Lake’s storied Konocti Harbor Resort
Konocti Harbor Resort, once a premier concert destination that featured big-name stars, has new owners who hope to restore the glory days of the venerable but timeworn property on the west shore of Clear Lake.
The new owners paid about $5 million for the nearly 100-acre resort, closed since 2009, on the expansive lake sometimes called 'the jewel of Lake County.'
A representative of the owners, whose individual names were not disclosed, will soon begin a two- to five-year restoration of the Kelseyville resort, including renovation of the main lodge, which will feature a 1,400-seat indoor theater, restaurant, two bars and the resort's business offices.
An aging two-story hotel on the waterfront will be demolished and replaced in the same footprint by boat storage garages on the ground floor and about 50 hotel suites on the second floor. Plans include another 200 guest suites on the property.
A new marina, including docks, fueling equipment, a bar and grill, and a retail store serving boaters and anglers also will be part of the project's first phase, targeted for reopening in the spring of 2020, said Russ Hamel, managing director of the resort and its new owners, Clear Lake Resort Services, LLC.
'We're excited to begin the revitalization of this iconic Lake County landmark,' Hamel said in a statement, describing a 'plan to bring life back into a resort that once loomed large as a Northern California destination of choice.'
Hamel declined to identify the new owners by name and to say how much money they planned to invest in the renovation. The purchase price was $5 million, according to county records.
'The owners have history and fond memories of spending time on Clear Lake with their own families,' he said in an email. 'They've owned other properties on the lake and have always had a fondness for the area in general.'
The future of the resort's popular 5,000-seat outdoor amphitheater remains uncertain, as the structure needs major repairs, he said.
The articles of incorporation for Clear Lake Resort Services, LLC, filed with the California Secretary of State Jan. 26, were signed by Thomas Saberi, a South San Francisco attorney. Saberi referred questions about the deal to Hamel.
The deed for the sale of Konocti Harbor Resort was filed with the Lake County Recorder March 21. It listed the new owners as Shekou Management LLC, spouses Andy and Zaida Saberi and Thomas Saberi. Joe Shekou of San Rafael was listed by the Secretary of State's office as agent for Shekou Management, LLC.
Hamel said the resort will be operated by Clear Lake Resort Services, which supplanted Shekou Management during the property purchase process.
Konocti Harbor Resort, one of the North Coast's major entertainment and recreation venues in its heyday before Native American casinos dotted the region, was shuttered in 2009 as the recession hit Lake County hard.
A previous developer's plan to buy and revive the facility fell apart in 2014 through lack of investor funding, frustrating local officials' hopes for new jobs and tax revenue.
In its prime, the resort located about 125 miles northeast of San Francisco was a regular summer stop for country stars including Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood. Chris Isaak, Ray Charles, the Beach Boys and Earth, Wind & Fire also performed there.
It was owned for a half century by Local 38 of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Journeymen, which was forced to sell in 2009 as part of a court settlement.
Hamel said in an email it was too soon to talk about future entertainment, other than saying 'we do intend to offer quality entertainment at the resort.'
Entertainment will initially be staged in the resort's indoor theater 'as part of the overall resort experience,' he said.
The outdoor amphitheater is 'structurally and mechanically unsound to a point where it's unusable' and in need of major improvements, he said.
Architectural plans for the resort's renovation are in the works and will require city and county approval, Hamel said.
'I can say that our focus is on developing a full service, quality, waterfront experience that will include water sports, boating, fishing, swimming, other aquatic and social activities and the improved lodging, restaurant and bar experience, of course,' he said.
There are no immediate plans to build condominiums or homes on the property, Hamel said.
Lake County Supervisor Rob Brown, whose district includes the resort, said he and six staffers met Friday with Hamel at the county courthouse to discuss issues involved in restoration of the aging facility.
The county is ready to send staff from various departments, including community development, code enforcement, environmental health and the fire department, to survey the resort and advise Hamel's group on what needs to be done to bring structures built decades ago up to current standards, Brown said.