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May 17th, 2008 12:37 PM
diegodawn
Development

Mayor Steve Pougnet: Hotel projects are advancing
Developer behind Hard Rock working on three other projects in city, Pougnet says
Stefanie Frith • The Desert Sun • May 7, 2008
Up to three more hotels are planned by the developers of the Hard Rock Hotel, Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet said Tuesday.

Nexus Development Co., which is developing the Hard Rock, is working on plans for the additional hotels, Pougnet told The Desert Sun after speaking to Main Street Palm Springs, the downtown and uptown merchants association.
A 10-acre parcel at Tahquitz Canyon Way and Hermosa Drive, near the Courtyard by Marriott hotel could be home to two of them, Pougnet said. Nexus submitted plans at City Hall last summer for a 500-room, nine-story hotel there, but Pougnet said they are now working on plans for two hotels that would share a parking lot and stand three to four stories high.
"We are working on a hotel project there," said Rich Meaney of Nexus. "We haven't submitted anything to the city."
Pougnet said Nexus also is thinking of dumping approved plans for 84 condos called Delano near the Palm Springs Convention Center and developing a one-to two-story hotel instead.
Meaney said the idea is "premature" and low on the list of hotels the company is developing in Palm Springs.
In related economic news, Pougnet told the group of about 40 at the Hyatt Regency Suites that the chic Mondrian hotel now has its term sheet.
A term sheet is a funding offer from investors. The document shows how financing could come together. It is similar to a letter of intent and is non-binding.
"A (term sheet) is not an easy feat in today's market," Pougnet said.
He said those behind the 400-room Mondrian might throw a party soon to "show the public they have some momentum."
Pougnet also said that major hotel and retail projects are still on track, despite concerns from some that they are struggling in the sluggish economy.
And a lawsuit against the 500-room Hard Rock Hotel has been settled. That hotel is also no longer a condo-hotel and would be almost 100 percent hotel rooms, Pougnet said.
Across California, the number of hotel rooms under construction jumped 24 percent in 2007 from 2006, the California New Hotel Development Survey shows.
To help these two hotels, as well as future new hotels and hotel renovations, the city is offering tax rebates, Pougnet said.
For example, the Hard Rock Hotel will get back 50 percent of its transient occupancy taxes for the first 20 years.
Bob Bogard, with the Palm Springs Art Museum, asked the mayor after his presentation how the city might keep downtown organized when the Mondrian, Hard Rock Hotel, Spa Resort Hotel and Casino and the Desert Fashion Plaza are under construction.
"How will you help tourists?" Bogard asked.
Pougnet said the city has been waiting so long for these projects to revitalize downtown, he would welcome the construction.
"I want to have some disruption in downtown," Pougnet said.

outinthecountry wrote:
Tourists are NOT going to come to PS if downtown is a major construction zone for several years!!! The
Mayor is a fool or an idiot or BOTH. I just read in the DS last week that hotel occupancy is down..and it will get worse with the recession and rising gas prices. Wake up and smell the coffee Steve.
5/7/2008 7:46:36 AM

echidna wrote:
Boy, Rich Meaney sure sounds like a dynamic guy! What a confidence maker he is.
Term Sheet - Shmerm Sheet.
5/7/2008 6:20:43 AM

girlyman wrote:
The greatest disruption we can have is recalling Steve "Mr. Foat" Pougnet, Ginny Foat and little Ricky Foat. As for the hotels, dream on! We're in a depression and most of the hotels in town are discounted and empty. Pougnet is a joke!
5/7/2008 6:00:05 AM
May 15th, 2008 10:46 AM
diegodawn Crucial decision awaits for planned Museum Market Plaza in downtown Palm Springs
The planned Museum Market Plaza still has some hurdles to clear
STEFANIE FRITH • THE DESERT SUN • MAY 4, 2008
Several things need to happen before John Wessman gets approval for the Museum Market Plaza in downtown Palm Springs.
And if those things don't happen, the city has a backup plan from the developers of the Hard Rock Hotel, Mayor Steve Pougnet said.
Pougnet said if Wessman can't finish the project, Santa Ana-based Nexus Development could develop the Wessman parcel if needed.
The company was chosen 18 months ago as the master developer-planner for parts of downtown. This allows the Hard Rock Hotel developers to figure out how different projects fit in with each other in that area and facilitate land transfers, or move in when property owners can't move forward with their projects, City Manager David Ready said.
Ready said Nexus has not started planning Wessman's parcel, but could do so with partners or on its own.
"We are serious about this site," Pougnet said.
Wessman has taken a major step toward redeveloping the 16-acre property in the heart of downtown into a "lifestyle center" with hotels, homes, retail and offices.
After applying last year for a planned development and being told his plan was "incomplete," Wessman submitted an application for a "specific plan" on Wednesday.
The plan is 90 pages long, significantly longer than the approximately 15 pages he submitted last year.
The application, if approved by the City Council, would create new zoning codes and rules for the Desert Fashion Plaza site, Planning Services Director Craig Ewing said.
"Once approved, that becomes the new general plan and zoning for the area," Ewing said. City staff is on a tight deadline from the City Council to review Wessman's plans by June 4. A processing schedule will be released May 21.
An environmental review will take place and be completed in nine months to a year, Ewing said.
City staff will meet with Wessman planners to go over the Environmental Impact Review process in a couple of weeks, followed by a meeting with 30 to 40 public agencies requesting their input, Ewing said.
Once that review is completed, the public will review it, and then the city will respond. It will go to the City Council after that for possible adoption, Ewing said.
"This is the most important decision (in the city) in recent history," Ewing said.
Council members are eager to move forward with the project.
Councilman Chris Mills said he is ready to "move quickly."
Mayor Pro Tem Ginny Foat stressed Wessman will be on a timeline to perform.
But that doesn't mean "giving up the farm" to get an approved project, Councilman Lee Weigel said.
"We are not going to jeopardize the city," Weigel said.
Councilman Rick Hutcheson agreed.
"The No. 1 goal is to get it right," he said. "That means it needs to be an outstanding project."
Congratulations to Stefanie Frith and The Desert Sun for an outstanding series of reports summarizing Mr. Wessman's plans for the Desert Fashion Plaza. I particularly enjoyed the "A Short History of Desert Fashion Plaza" story, for the background information it contained added perspective to the current events. The ability to read, digest and then summarize Mr. Wessman's 90 pages of development planning documents is a rare talent and one worthy of appreciation. It certainly merits my own admiration. I'm looking forward to future reports about this project as it works its way through the inevitable bureaucratic maze.


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jackscribe wrote:
I like that Mayor Steve has a backup plan to replace Wessman...if needed. This will be fabulous, despite the negative naysayers comments and gadfly efforts to derail this. One suggestion: please drop the name "plaza" from the project. It has too much negativity attached. Couldn't it just be called Museum Place...something like that?
5/4/2008 7:55:17 AM
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echidna wrote:
30 to 40 public agencies!!! My God what has become of this world? To even suggest eminant
domain is not appropriate. Wessmann does not need empty threats hanging over his head to
get this difficult project off the ground. Surely the City Attorney will advise his clients that it
would be a difficult , if not impossible task, to meet the tests required for such an action. Even if
it did qualify the City does not have the funds to purchase it. It's Mr.Wessmann's property. Has everyone lost sight of that? Stop threatning the man and help him with whatever resources the City has available for such a project. I don't see anyone making threats to Mr. Rael, who's Port Lawrence is stopped dead in it's tracks. He's done nothing but merely clear the sight after more than a year . Wessmann's project has a far better chance of being built. The Fashion Plaza, believe it or not, is only a small part of what ails downtown Palm Springs.
5/4/2008 7:54:09 AM
May 15th, 2008 10:45 AM
diegodawn Cost Plus market relocating in Palm Springs
BY MICHELLE MITCHELL • PALM SPRINGS SUN • MAY 9, 2008
Palm Springs shoppers will soon have a new option for buying furniture, specialty foods, international wines and a smorgasbord of other goods.
Cost Plus World Market is leaving Palm Desert and relocating to Smoke Tree Commons, 2465 E. Palm Canyon Drive. After about 20 years on Town Center Way, the store is expected to close sometime in June.
Its La Quinta location, near the intersection of Highway 111 and Adams Street, will remain open.
"We need a little more distance between the two stores," General Manager Jane Lang said.
Employees will move to the Palm Springs location, and about 25 staff positions are open to help with the move, Lang said.
"Certainly with the population spreading out, more retailers are going to have an opportunity to have multiple locations," Palm Desert Economic Development Manager Ruth Ann Moore said. She said she doesn't see businesses moving out of the city in favor of other valley locations as a trend.
"We still are the center of the valley, geographically, and that does afford us to work with some really good businesses and bring them in."
There is no word yet on what will happen with the current Cost Plus storefront.
In the meantime, the Palm Desert store is holding a "relocation sale" and offering 10 percent to 30 percent discounts on most items, with some products listed at 50 percent off.
"I'm sad that this one's leaving because it's right down the street from my house," Palm Desert resident Jeri Lynne said as she purchased several glass dishes.
She said she'll still make the drive to La Quinta.
"I love this store," she said. "I'll go anywhere for this store."
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greekboy62 wrote:
Now thats a switch-a retailer moving from Palm Desert to Palm Springs!

5/10/2008 8:07:18 AM
May 15th, 2008 10:43 AM
diegodawn Tribe and city discuss spa renovation

By Stefanie Frith • Palm Springs Sun • April 25, 2008
Environmental studies for the renovation of the Spa Resort Hotel and Casino in downtown Palm Springs should be complete by the end of the year, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians' chief planning and development officer said Wednesday.

Tom Davis addressed the Palm Springs City Council during a joint session with the tribal council at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
The tribe recently celebrated the opening of its $300 million, 340-room Agua Caliente hotel in Rancho Mirage and will now focus on retail development near that project, Davis said. But the renovation of the Spa Resort Hotel and Casino follows close behind as a priority.
The preservation of the mineral hot springs and traffic are two major concerns in the environmental review process, Davis said.
Preservation groups recently banded together to convince the tribe to save the late 1950s colonnade arch at Tahquitz Canyon Way and Indian Canyon Drive.
"Mid-century hotel renovations are becoming the norm, not the exception," wrote resident Ron Marshall in a letter to the tribe and city that was read Wednesday by resident Gary Johns.
While plans shown to merchants last year show a 100-foot high, crescent-shaped hotel tower fronting Indian Canyon Drive, Davis said Wednesday that the environmental review will drive the architecture.
"We will take a hard look at the architecture and fine-tune it," Davis said.
Once the environmental reviews are complete, they will be reviewed by the public and then the tribal and city councils. The tribal council will decide sometime in the first half of 2009 when construction of the hotel, ballroom, expanded casino, retail, restaurants and parking structure should begin.
"It's a matter of economics," Davis said.
Mayor Steve Pougnet said he looks forward to working with the tribe and seeing how Wessman Development's renovations of the Desert Fashion Plaza mall in downtown will fit in.
The vision is to see a connection from the Palm Springs Art Museum through the mall and the Spa Resort Hotel and Casino into the convention center.
"We are working clos(ely) with Tom Davi(s) from the tribe and are updating him on any major changes on our plans for downtown," Wessman Development Co. Vice President Michael Braun wrote in an e-mail to The Desert Sun on Wednesday.
Tribal Chairman Richard Milanovich said the renovation of the mall is important for the revitalization of downtown.
"The thoroughfare (from the museum to the convention center) makes a lot of sense for all of us," Milanovich said.
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roxann wrote:
I think "seekingtruth" and "get the truth" must be related. At the very least, through the misspelling of my name. The colonnade marks the spot of the original shack (and I DO mean "shack") over the mineral springs. That makes it historically important. I do not agree with some others who say the whole hotel should be saved. Surprise!!!! And I do not agree that the tribal buildings have been ugly; the Casino and the tribal offices would certainly disprove that. And the ridiculous comment about one of the town's more responsible, educated and INFORMED individuals (Sheryl Hamlin) simply serves to make the write look just the opposite. Sorry, Dick. You need to do a bit more homework.
4/29/2008 7:32:42 PM
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getthetruth wrote:
The originally built Spa Colonnade was architecturally beautiful and if it had been kept. I would be fighting to keep it as well, but the tribe ruined it with the tacky redo and the rock waterfall so as far as I am concerned knock the whole thing down. Unfortunately the tribe is not known for constructing attractive architecture so no matter what gets built it will probably be an eyesore. I agree that the likes of Roxanne Ploss and her naysayer crowd cannot do a darn thing to stop the building. The tribe can build what ever they want. That issue is the only thing that makes me happy about the whole thing!
4/29/2008 12:02:12 PM
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PSGirl wrote:
The editorial doesn't provide a good argument to keep the entire Spa hotel. The hotel is out of date and I'm sure energy wise, it is very costly. With the heat and electricity costs on the rise everything should be done to make the hotel enery and cost effective for the area. When temperatures reach 115 outside and you're only charging 89.00 a night, how does the hotel break even? I'm sure this is something all businesses deal with in the desert but since the tribe has the mean and opportunity to redo/remodel/rebuild the Spa, I think they should do whatever is necessary as a business owner to make it happen. If this includes saving the colonande arch that's fine and if they don't I'm okay with that too.
4/28/2008 9:41:39 AM
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DESERTRESIDENT wrote:
Thank goodness the spa resort is on Indian Land, otherwise nothing would ever pass the Palm Sewer City Council!
4/26/2008 10:05:32 PM
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PSFan wrote:
I believe the only thing that was being targeted to save was the colonnade arch. Everything else would be torn down and replaced with new construction. Connecting the focal point of the project to Palm canyon and right through to the the Museum would be great. This project is on indian land, so they regualr naysayers can not hold it up. Yeah!
4/26/2008 2:41:47 PM
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YouAreAnIdiot wrote:
Knock it down and clean it up - it is beyond a lipstick makeover. That old girl just isn't attractive at the dance anymore. Put it out of it's misery once and for all and make the Spa a true resort destination
4/25/2008 4:49:33 PM
May 14th, 2008 05:39 PM
diegodawn Palm Springs' Fashion Plaza could have 955 units

Wessman's latest proposal may be the one to become reality
Stefanie Frith • The Desert Sun • April 30, 2008
The Desert Fashion Plaza, when redeveloped in downtown Palm Springs, could reach 79 feet high and have a maximum of 955 homes.
The City Council and Planning Commission are meeting tonight to discuss the project. The project, called the Museum Market Plaza, was submitted today.

Assistant City Manager Tom Wilson said today is a "big day" because the city has been waiting for nearly a year for developer John Wessman to submit his latest plans for the 16-acre site at Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon Drive.

The number, use and height of buildings included in the redevelopment of the Desert Fashion Plaza in downtown Palm Springs was revealed during a joint session of the City Council and Planning Commission.

Wessman's plans include a central public plaza and a mixed-use area with homes, offices, retail and entertainment venues.

There could be 955 homes, 400,000 square feet of retail and 620 hotel rooms. However, this does not mean it would all occur at the same time. If there were 620 hotel rooms, there would be fewer condos, for example.

Buildings could range from 34 feet to 79 feet high.

Its redevelopment is viewed as critical to bringing more shoppers and visitors to downtown Palm Springs.
The property, which includes Zeldaz night club, has sat virtually empty since Saks Fifth Avenue closed in 2001.
Wessman has filed three or four plans to redevelop the area in the seven years he's owned it. Every one of those plans was debated and dismissed.
But his newest idea could be the one proposal that goes from paper drawings to reality - a lifestyle center in the heart of downtown, with many shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, a hotel and condos.
Project details are scheduled to be released at 6 p.m. today during a joint meeting of the City Council and Planning Commission at Palm Springs City Hall.
In an e-mail to supporters last week, Wessman Development Vice President Michael Braun said the company plans to create a "central public plaza" and mixed-use project that will "address the needs" of retailers and prospective residential buyers.
Change can't come soon enough: Merchants, city officials and residents point to the existing plaza as an eyesore standing in the way of downtown Palm Springs' revitalization.
Bob Hughes, a commercial real estate broker based in downtown, said vacancies will start to disappear when the project - called the Museum Market Plaza - is under way.
"The mall would be the jackpot to get everything to move," Hughes said. "We can move without it, but not as quickly."
Wessman's latest plans aren't so different from what he's submitted in the past, City Councilman Chris Mills said Tuesday.
Mills saw plans three weeks ago for buildings ranging in height from 35 feet to more than 70 feet. There would be a lot of condos and maybe a movie theater and high-end grocery store.
National retailers would be drawn to the retail space, prompting local merchants to fill up vacant storefronts downtown.
"There are tenants that would love to be in downtown, but we don't have any place to put them," Mills said.
The plans show a project that would be pedestrian-friendly and offer the much-needed connection from the Palm Springs Art Museum to the Palm Springs Convention Center.
"This is the No. 1 priority for the city as far as I'm concerned," Mayor Steve Pougnet said, adding he will give Wessman an "aggressive" timeline today.


In your voice


5/1/2008 9:51:34 AM
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LukeinPS wrote:
So many people are against the redevelopment of downtown and will find anything to block progress. I wish we could determine the amount of revenue lost each year and equally divide it amongst the naysayers as a penalty. We will see how quickly they change their minds. Most of these people don't care if downtown survives or not because they are satisfied with the status quo. If it were to hit their pocket books just like it does with the retailers and the city government collecting taxes maybe they would see things differently.
5/1/2008 9:24:05 AM
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PSGirl wrote:
If we are going to continue to argue over the plans that Wessman has for downtown then I think the ones who oppose his plans should dig into their pockets and purchase the land and build it the way you want. BUT until you do that, can you please let something be built! Four different development plans have been submitted and each has gone no where, not just because they weren't perfect but because so many or just the ones that scream the most don't want to lose the small main street atmosphere that used to be Palm Springs. Quit living in the past and allow progress to continue otherwise we will be left to start over and wait until another plan is developed.
4/30/2008 5:47:43 PM
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Seekingtruth wrote:

buzzyzpop wrote:
so Wessman's people are saying 70 feet and zoning is 60 feet? All this ranting dialog lets just give in to 65 feet, split the difference. How tall is the Hyatt? Just get the dang thing built. Are we really arguing over 10 feet? I wish we could have something like the Garden's on El Paseo but SoCalFrank is right about the Gardens being in the middle, DFP doesn't have that advantage. It needs mixed use to get the shoppers AND residents. It was a mistake to bulldoze the old Desert Inn and build DFP in the first place. It's possible to rehab older buildings, restore them, not bulldoze and come out with the same product but more charm and character. Build this project and save some older buildings for balance. Create view corridors.
4/30/2008 4:56:17 PM
May 14th, 2008 05:37 PM
diegodawn PALM SPRINGS - Several major retailers, including a large bookstore, movie theater and upscale restaurants are interested in leasing in the proposed $500 million to $650 million renovation of the Desert Fashion Plaza in downtown Palm Springs.


Barnes & Noble and a "major movie theater" have signed letters of intent to lease at the Museum Market Plaza, owner John Wessman told The Desert Sun on Wednesday.
Wessman submitted his latest plans to a joint meeting of the Palm Springs City Council and Planning Commission.
He proposes turning the defunct 16-acre Desert Fashion Plaza site into what he calls a thriving lifestyle center, complete with up to 955 condos, as many as 620 hotel rooms and up to 400,000 square feet of retail.
The space would be distributed on a sliding scale, so fewer condos could mean near the high estimate for hotel rooms and retail space, and vice versa.
The buildings would range from 15 to 79 feet high and would be completed in phases, with the first phase along Palm Canyon Drive expected by the end of 2010.
The center would include a public plaza with palm trees and places to sit and relax, office space, a pharmacy, bookstore, condos, and lots of shops and restaurants.
Wessman said he has been ready to move forward and has submitted three or four plans since he purchased the property in December 2001.
Mayor Steve Pougnet countered that, saying Wessman has never submitted a "specific plan."
"If you don't have a project that is economically feasible, it's not going to happen," Wessman told The Desert Sun before the meeting.
The near-empty mall is seen as a hurdle to the revitalization of downtown.
National retailers have nowhere to set up shop and local merchants won't survive without thriving stores, officials said.
Many believe bringing people to live in downtown, along with a public central plaza, a movie theater, bookstore, pharmacy and hotel will help bring life to the area.
"I remember being able to walk through the Hyatt into the mall, then they closed it and it's been an eyesore ever since," said Justin Ummel of Palm Springs.
"That's a whole lot of space that could bring business to Palm Springs," he said. "And it would be nice to go inside and shop around, especially during the summer."
A new street connecting the Palm Springs Art Museum to the Palm Springs Convention Center is something city officials have been working on since the early 1990s, Councilman Chris Mills said earlier this week.
Wessman said he is not sure at this time how much money he might ask for from the city's Community Redevelopment Agency.
"People keep asking me that, even the city," Wessman said.
He also is not sure exactly how many homes or shops would be built.
The environmental review, which would start soon, would determine this, as well as the setbacks, exact height and other factors, Wessman said.
Condos would cost about $600 per square foot.
Wessman said he is not concerned about financing the project, which he estimates will cost $500 million to $650 million.
His vice president, Michael Braun, worked on Wall Street for 12 years and has access to certain funds, Wessman said.
Pougnet said the City Council will discuss the project again May 21 and June 4.
Mayor Pro Tem Ginny Foat said she was disappointed to see the mall deteriorate and stores leave in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
"We cannot continue with that hole in the middle of our downtown," she said.
Residents and local business owners agreed on Wednesday.
"What we have right now is a dead mall and the hotels and restaurants are the only things that bring tourism in this area," said Palm Springs resident Michael Anthony Montano, marketing director and owner of So. Cal Direct Media.
"I think revitalizing the mall would bring more tourism and businesses. It would also help bring more people, which would help the town's small businesses with the tremendous rent they're paying," he said.
"It's very hard for small businesses to profit out here when they're paying between $3,500 to $5,000 a month in rent."
Shaun Finley, a 15-year resident of Palm Springs, said he would love to see a Banana Republic, Pottery Barn and William Sonoma at the proposed revitalized mall.
"It'll bring more people here instead of making them go to Palm Desert," he said.


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roxann wrote:
Much of what I saw last night I actually liked. But 60' means 60'; John Wessman was a driving force in the Downtown Guidelines committee which set that height. He was extremely well versed on the limits before he presented his proposal at Council. He understands setbacks, too.
I agree with much of what has been said by other posters; it is definitely time to move forward but there seems to be the sense here that once the project is approved, it we go up overnight. Dream on. Be prepared for at least five years of major disruption downtown to get this huge project near completion. That was why so many people were hoping for major renovations as opposed to a total tear-down. Nonetheless, it is time to proceed......within the limitations set by the General Plan.
5/1/2008 10:02:38 AM



5/1/2008 9:43:47 AM



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buzzyzpop wrote:
Great concept, small adjustments and go for it! Personally I'll miss the Town and Country center, we are losing more and more of our history. BUT, let this project get going. Timing would be perfect for the next economic boom. Just bulldoze DFP now, get moving. It's a great plan!
5/1/2008 8:33:59 AM
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kirschbaum wrote:
Small town appeal or ghost town appeal?! Misplaced nostalgia is not going to help PS prosper.
5/1/2008 7:47:44 AM
May 13th, 2008 02:15 PM
diegodawn
Development

Palm Springs homeless center plan goes forward
• PALM SPRINGS SUN • APRIL 11, 2008

The Palm Springs Planning Commission gave the go-ahead this week for the future Multi-Services Center for the Homeless to be built in Palm Springs.


The center, which will be located at 19-531 McLane St., is being built by Riverside County.
At its meeting Wednesday, the commission also approved a request that street improvements, including sidewalks near 2630 Anza Trail, be postponed.
Neighbors had said they believe the work would make the area look more urban than the surrounding area, according to city staff. The commission added an amendment that it would allow a gate to be built there as well.
The commission approved a new spa inside the new Ace Hotel, 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive. Six ground-floor rooms will be remodeled to build a spa.



Palm Springs Marketplace
1717 E. Vista Chino
Palm Springs, California 92262
County: Riverside


Property Description:
Phase I is a completed neighborhood center containing Stater Bros., ARCO, McDonald's and Hollywood Video. A freestanding AutoZone store is open in Phase II with the remainder of Phase II in pre-leasing during Fall '07. Dollar Tree currently under construction. Location Description:
Located on the SEC of Vista Chino and Sunrise Way, which is one of the primary commercial hubs serving Palm Springs and eastern portions of Cathedral City. Center provides excellent site lines as well as access/egress from three different streets.
May 13th, 2008 02:04 PM
diegodawn Palm Springs Mayor shares his "Renaissance" vision for the city
Public Record, The, Feb 12, 2008 by Slahor, Stephenie
The annual State of the City address was delivered by Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet at the Palm Springs Convention Center, during a luncheon hosted by the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce.
"We work together as a Council to move this city forward," Mayor Pougnet began, as he introduced members of the City Council. "There is a renaissance of the city of Palm Springs occurring and we're taking that to the next level." He added, "This city isn't crumbling as some would want us to believe," and "it has a tremendous opportunity to go to the next level."
He listed a number of projects and activities of the past few years that have helped to advance the city.
The Office of Neighborhood Involvement has 15 of the city's neighborhoods as members, with four more planning to join. The mayor said the group is an opportunity for neighborhood residents to network and discuss issues of importance in their areas. "You've got to have dialog with your neighborhoods," Pougnet said, and he is encouraging homeowners' and condominium associations to consider joining the group.
He also listed the city's budget in being the black, completion of renovations at the Palm Springs Convention Center and the airport's terminal, soon-to-be construction of the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, and approval of a western campus in the city by College of the Desert as more reasons the city is in a "renaissance."
Pougnet said the city's bond rating has been raised to A-, a rating that will save the city considerably on bond insurance. The city is planning a new animal shelter, renovations to the public library, and purchase of and as bond income, tax increments and redevelopment money increase.
He praised the Palm Springs Film Festival as an event that now attracts people "from all over the world" And, in the sports realm, he cheered the two city baseball clubs - the Palm Springs Power and the Palm Springs Chill and the roles they play in providing quality sports events for residents and visitors to enjoy.
Restoration projects at the Colony Palms Hotel and Racquet Club are well underway, he said, and will help to contribute to, what he termed, 'The wonderful, fabulous setting" of Palm Springs and its fabled history.
"We can't ever have enough money to do the things we need, and know we need, in the city" he said, but he said one item about which many residents voice concern is the state of the streets and roads. He said there is a long-term plan to resurface all the city roads and he is recommending to the Council that a new formula for funding be done to finance the plan. "It is that critical to the infrastructure of the city to do that," he said.
He also has the goal of improving "customer service" in the city. "This isn't a recommendation; this is a challenge," he said.
He pledged continued support for the police and fire services and said they need the "tools to protect this city," and the personnel to do the work.
The mayor would like Palm Springs to emphasize environmentally-sound, sustainable efforts in its water and energy consumption. Audits will be done on city usage, and a summit will be held in late April or early May to discuss "eco-positive" measures. The city is already planning to re-landscape significant portions of medians in the city with plants that require less watering.
On the topic of downtown revitalization, Pougnet said projects such as the planned Port Lawrence mixed use condo and retail development at Alejo and Palm Canyon, the planned Hard Rock Hotel and a Mondrian Hotel near the Convention Center will help greatly in revitalization and bolstering the usage of the Center. But Pougnet said something must he done soon with the Desert Fashion Plaza and the associated Zelda's parcel about 14 acres in the center of downtown. "It is absolutely critical to the future economic success of this city" to improve that area, he said. Although the city has been working closely with Wessman Development for the past three years, Pougnet said the city needs to look at all available options "with Wessman Development, or without them," he said. He did not rule out eminent domain as an option that the city would use. "This downtown has so much potential," he said, but he
added that the city "Will not sit around and watch for another six years that nothing moves forward on that property."
Another challenging area is the Escena project on the north side of the city along Gene Autry Trail and Vista Chino. "It's in trouble - a casualty of what's happening in the business" of real estate and lending, he said. Bonds posted by the developer should help the city maintain the property until a solution can be found, he added. Mayor Pougnet said he is proud to be the city's 19th mayor and he concluded, "I believe deeply and passionately about this city."
May 11th, 2008 12:00 PM
diegodawn
More Development News

Morgans Hotel Group Announces New Mondrian in Palm Springs
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 14, 2008--Morgans Hotel Group Co. (NASDAQ: MHGC) ("MHG") today announced a new joint venture with RE:Loft Partners Palm Springs, LLC to develop Palm Springs Hotel & Residences ("the Resort") in downtown Palm Springs, California. The Resort plans call for a Mondrian hotel with approximately 200 rooms, as well as residences available for sale. The Resort is expected to open in 2010. This new venture is the seventh announced Mondrian, including the renowned, original West Hollywood Mondrian, the new Mondrian Scottsdale, and properties under development in Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago and SoHo.
Located in the heart of downtown Palm Springs on Amado Road, the Resort will be directly across from the newly renovated Palm Springs Convention Center and a short walk from the main downtown retail promenade. The five-story property sits on 10.5 acres and is expected to include a destination restaurant and bar. The Resort is also expected to boast a spa and fitness center as well as an expansive social pool area with cabanas and outdoor bar access, and a kids club to support leisure family travel as well as residential owners.
The Resort is also expected to have significant flexible indoor and outdoor meeting and function space, including a large ballroom and a board room. Additional meeting and function facilities would include a movie screening room. Leading architecture firms Gensler and Marta Fry Landscape Architects will oversee the property's development.
"Palm Springs is experiencing a dramatic revitalization, and we are pleased to establish our footprint in one of the premier resort destinations in the U.S.," said Marc Gordon, Chief Investment Officer of MHG. "Our property will set a new precedent for development in downtown Palm Springs, which provides an alternative to the golf resort destinations in the Palm Springs area and to the Las Vegas party scene. We are pleased to be at the cutting edge of the Palm Springs 'renaissance,' just as we were with the opening of Delano in South Beach and Mondrian on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles."
"We see tremendous opportunities in the resurgence of downtown Palm Springs," said Fred Kleisner, President and Chief Executive Officer of MHG. "With its legendary glamour and energy, we expect this property to attract the hip, diverse clientele that our Mondrian brand is known for. We are excited about our expansion into this vibrant market and look forward to the continued success of the Mondrian brand."
Upon completion, MHG is expected to operate the hotel under a ten-year management contract with five-year extension options.




Stefanie Frith, The Desert Sun
March 2008. By Stefanie Frith. This former bank building at Baristo Road and Palm Canyon Drive in downtown Palm Springs is being refurbished. When completed, it could be home to several restaurants and a possible small grocery store.
Leasing options
Interested in leasing in a refurbished bank building? Space is available for offices, restaurants, bars and a 5,000-square-foot gourmet market. Contact Sperry Van Ness at 778-6856.

Downtown

Arrayed in a mostly linear, north-south axis at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains, downtown is usually considered to be the area between Ramon Road to the south, and Alejo Road at the north. The principal commercial arteries are Palm Canyon Drive and Indian Canyon Drive, which run parallel and one block apart. The area to the east of these streets, all the way to Sunrise Way, is home to the Agua Caliente Casino and Spa Hotel, the city’s Convention Center, and numerous hotel and condominium projects. It is in this section of the City, because of a separate master plan initiated with the Cahuilla tribe, that higher buildings (up to one hundred feet) on larger parcels are allowed. Accordingly, an expanded Casino and Spa Hotel, a Hard Rock Hotel, and a Mondrian Hotel, are in the planning stages in this area. These taller buildings, and other multi-story projects being proposed downtown, are encountering resistance from some in the community. Many feel that the “village atmosphere” is being compromised and threatened, and views of the beloved mountains blocked.

In July 2005, the City of Palm Springs adopted the “Interim Downtown Urban Design Plan” to function as a guide for development in the core area. Significant in the document are height limits, density “nodes”, streetscape and landscaping concepts, and building massing strategies. Because of the length of the downtown corridor, the document recommends the creation of a “southern gateway” project on the north side of Ramon Road, between Palm Canyon Drive and Indian Canyon Drive, and a corresponding “northern gateway” just south of Alejo Road. Both projects, which are mixed-use commercial/residential structures, have been designed and approved by the City. (The northern gateway project, “Port Lawrence”, is currently under construction.)

At the “crossroads” of downtown, Tahquitz Canyon Drive at Palm Canyon Drive, a major “hub” is intended. Currently, much of this prime area is occupied by the vacant “Desert Fashion Plaza” shopping center, a typical (and outdated) enclosed retail mall. This building, and much of the adjacent land, is owned by Wessman Development, which is proposing a major, mixed-use commercial/residential project, dubbed “Museum Market Plaza”. The project will return much of the former street grid, and perhaps more importantly, creates part of an intended link between the Palm Springs Art Museum at the base of the mountain and the convention center to the east. Unfortunately, the historic “Town and Country Center”, designed by A. Quincy Jones and Paul R. Williams in 1947, is threatened by the Museum Market Plaza project. It is this potential loss of an important building and courtyard space that led to Palm Springs Re-Imagined.

Retrofitting and widening the Bogert Trail Bridge is expected to get underway in 2008 and it will take slightly
less than a year to complete.
Construction on the South Palm Canyon bridge project is not expected to start before 2009 and will take at least
one year to construct.
May 8th, 2008 02:25 PM
diegodawn
Palm Springs Development

I thought others would be interested in construction and development going on in Palm Springs. Please post anything of interest. It's nice to know what's going on and what isn't. It's not pretty but it's a start!


Old bank in downtown Palm Springs being transfomed into possible Panera Bread, bars
Stefanie Frith • The Desert Sun • April 2, 2008
PALM SPRINGS - New restaurants, bars and an upscale grocery store could come to downtown Palm Springs.

It's not a definite, but Sperry Van Ness is talking to bakery cafe Panera Bread about opening inside a former bank building that is being refurbished in downtown, the company's senior vice president, Char Sharp, said Tuesday at the Main Street Palm Springs meeting.
The former bank building is at the northeast corner of Baristo Road and Palm Canyon Drive, next to the Village Pub and across the street from Wessman Development Co.
"It would be nice to see something permanent there, something useful," said Vincent Puccio, who owns Avalon Bay and Don Vincent across the street.
The two-story brick, glass and wood building has been empty for about nine years, Sharp said. It would be opened on each side to accommodate outdoor patio seating, Sharp said.
"It will be something more trendy," Sharp said.
Panera Bread, which has more than 1,150 stores nationwide and opened recently in La Quinta, is being considered as a tenant, Sharp said.
The nearly 20,000-square-foot former bank will be converted to also add a pub and possible martini bar, as well as a restaurant for something like Panera Bread or an Earth Cafe, Sharp said.
A small grocer, possibly a Jensen's, could also be added, she said. On the second floor would be space for two offices.
Letters of intent should be signed in the next two months, with leases signed after that, Sharp said. The entire project would be finished by the end of the year.
People who attended the Main Street merchants' association meeting Tuesday were excited and wondered about the former bank's vault.
"It's for bad boys who drink too much at the martini bar," Sharp quipped.

PSFan wrote:
What a great redo on this building. It seems very feasible and will really boost this end of downtown. If they can land a Cosi or Panera as well as fun tapas Martini bar this project will be great and adding in a small grocery like a Fresh and Easy, the british import small food market , would complete a stellar project. It looks as if this one has been really thought through
4/3/2008 5:16:25 PM


Here are some decisions made at the Palm Springs Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday:


Ace Hotel to replace Howard Johnson
The Ace Hotel was approved by the Palm Springs Planning Commission Wednesday. The commission voted 6-0 for the hotel at 701 E. Palm Canyon Drive.
The hotel would replace the former Howard Johnson and Denny's restaurant. It would have 190 rooms.
Ace Hotels also are in Oregon, with another planned in New York.
Contempo Homes given 1-year extension
It will be another year before a Contempo Homes project gets off the ground.
The Palm Springs Planning Commission voted 5-1 Wednesday, with Chairwoman Dianne Marantz abstaining, to approve a one-year time extension for an 11.42-acre project at Verona Road near Whitewater Club Drive that would have 39 homes.
10-home project can wait another year
A Contempo Home project at Via Escuela near Gene Autry Trail will be extended by another year.
The project would have 10 homes on 3.42 acres. The Palm Springs Planning Commission voted 5-1 Wednesday with Chairwoman Dianne

skyvalleyman wrote:
Hmmmm...no comment on Port Lawrence status or what's going on at Mesquite and Palm Canyon??
4/1/2008 8:06:43 AM

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