COBB — A historic Lake County resort that through a dozen decades has hosted families, movie stars and spiritual seekers is beginning a new chapter under owners who aim to restore the sprawling, ramshackle compound 100 miles north of San Francisco to its former glory and then some.
If successfully resurrected, Hoberg’s Resort and Spa could bring a much-needed economic infusion to Lake County, which continues to suffer financially from high unemployment — 9.7 percent in July — and the 2009 closure of the Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa, once the North Coast’s largest concert venue.
“It would definitely pick up the slack,” said Lake County Supervisor Anthony Farrington, who, along with other county officials Thursday, toured the 55-acre wooded property high on Cobb Mountain as an army of workers prepared for this weekend’s kickoff event, two days of music commemorating the 1960s.
Saturday’s concert, billed as a 45th anniversary celebration of Woodstock, features acts including Canned Heat, Jefferson Starship and Country Joe McDonald. Sunday’s “Summer of Love” concert features Elvin Bishop, Lydia Pense, Cold Blood and It’s a Beautiful Day.
Workers were scrambling Thursday to complete work on 15 rooms already booked by guests for the event.
In addition to rehabilitating and enhancing many of the original facilities, which included a lodge, ballroom, dining hall, swimming pool and more than 100 tiny cabins and clustered rooms, Lake County Partners LLC plans eventually to add time-share condominiums to the mix at the resort, said Dan Nelson, who is overseeing the site’s rehabilitation and upcoming music events. He also masterminded the project and facilitated Lake County Partners’ purchase of property in April for $1.2 million.
The former owners, Cobb Mountain Partners — Nelson’s prior employer — purchased the property in 2010 for $2 million, according to county records. The company sold amid debt and legal problems linked to its rehabilitation of the site.
“The key issue was it was underfunded,” said Nelson, who continues to be personally entangled in lawsuits connected to previous work on the property and has been charged by the Lake County District Attorney for allegedly exposing workers to asbestos and not providing workers’ compensation benefits. The case is scheduled for trial later this month.
The first phase of the current rehabilitation project, to be completed this year, includes the 15 rooms adjacent to the lodge; remodeling of other buildings for a spa, wine tasting facility, deli and office; and construction of the new outdoor stage. That phase is expected to cost about $2 million, Nelson said.
The second phase — which will include rehabilitation of the 55,000-square-foot lodge, its dining room and ballroom, and other buildings — will cost more than $10 million, he said.
With most of the structures uninhabitable, there’s a lot of work to do.
“It’s pretty beat up,” Nelson said.
Lake County Partners has the funding for the first two phases, he said. The partnership includes Silvester Rabic, a Bay Area real estate developer and partner in a mortgage company, and Frank Sasselli, a communications entrepreneur.
The company plans to bring in a management team, and it has enlisted a group of celebrity advisers who have filmed commercials for the resort. They include actor Lorenzo Lamas, who starred in the soap opera “Falcon Crest,” as well as baseball player Jose Canseco and actor Ernie Hudson of “Ghostbusters” fame.