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Old May 14th, 2008, 05:39 PM
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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
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