Winners in the Lake Berryessa competition to revitalize resorts with new marinas, campgrounds, stores, restaurants and lodgings should be known in January.
That’s when the Bureau of Reclamation expects to announce its picks to rebuild and operate up to five resorts. These resorts have for several years been either closed or run in stripped-down versions.
The bureau’s latest redevelopment effort involved putting the concessionaire contracts for five of the lake’s seven resorts out to bid. The federal agency closed the bidding period on Sept. 15, but has yet to announce how many bids it received or for which resorts.
“It’s still a confidential process,” Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Janet Sierzputowski said.
At stake is the future for a major regional recreation draw. Lake Berryessa businesses for several years have waited for a successful resort redevelopment effort to boost the area’s economy.
The bureau estimates lake visitation fell from 1.5 million people when all seven resorts were at full strength to 408,000 in 2014.
The resorts targeted for redevelopment are Steele Canyon, Spanish Flat, Putah Canyon, Monticello Shores and Berryessa Point. Markley Cove and Pleasure Cove continue to operate at full strength with marinas under separate contracts.
Sierzputowski repeated the bureau’s prior announcement that it received “multiple bids” for its latest redevelopment effort. A panel is reviewing and scoring proposals and will make a recommendation to the regional director, who will make a decision, she said.
After announcing the selected bidder or bidders for the various resorts in January, the bureau will start negotiating with them. It expects to award the contract or contracts in the April-to-June time frame, she said.
The bureau wants bidders to show evidence that their financial assumptions and business models are realistic, that they have funding sources documented by letters of credit or proof of assets and that they have the experience to develop resorts, she said.
As part of its public outreach effort, the bureau holds regular Lake Berryessa meetings with representatives from the Berryessa community. Sierzputowski said a future meeting will focus on the bid results.
More Berryessa changes are to come. The bureau is to release a prospectus to become the next concessionaire for Markley Cove sometime from January to April, Sierzputowski said.
The bureau in 2006 decided to drastically revamp Lake Berryessa resorts on public land. It cleared out hundreds of mobile homes where people lived part of the year, razed five of the resorts and moved to rebuild from scratch with a greater emphasis on short-term visitors.
The bureau in 2010 chose Arizona-based Pensus as its resort redeveloper and operator. In December 2012, it terminated the Pensus contract because it was dissatisfied with the firm’s progress and restarted its search for resort operators.