City of Desert Hot Springs
Address : 65950 Pierson Blvd, Desert Hot Springs, California 92240
PHONE : 760-329-6411
Renew And Rediscover
Words by Gayle Biondi
Photographs by Ethan Kaminsky
With elevated views of the Coachella Valley and thousands of acres of scenic and protected open space, it’s no wonder Desert Hot Springs is one of the fastest-growing communities in Southern California. Just minutes from an international airport, more than 100 golf courses, enticing shopping and dining options, and a full calendar of world-class sporting and entertainment events, this city beckons visitors and business developers with attractions all its own.
From the start, the city of Desert Hot Springs was founded on opportunity.
Just after the turn of the 20th century, adventurer Cabot Yerxa hand-dug two wells with a pick and shovel on his 160-acre homestead on a hill. One well produced crisp cold water; the other produced hot mineral water. The site quickly gained the moniker “Miracle Hill,” a name it retains to this day.
Early settlers discovered a true oasis in the desert when they harnessed the naturally occurring hot mineral waters and built a thriving health and wellness community around these life-giving resources.
Today, more than three dozen spas dot the landscape and beckon guests to relax and renew in polished marble resorts, retrohip motels, and ultra-exclusive celebrity retreats — all fueled by one of the world’s finest natural hot water aquifers. Even the municipal drinking water source is so pure it has routinely won international awards.
And then, there’s the great outdoors. Almost any adventure is yours for the taking in Desert Hot Springs — from sand to snow and everything in between. Nestled at the foot of one of the most biologically diverse mountain ranges in North America, Desert Hot Springs abuts the sweeping Sand to Snow National Monument. Here you’ll find some of the most dramatic hiking trails in Southern California — including the newly dedicated Kim Nichols Trail, the first new hiking trail in the Coachella Valley in more than 10 years.
Nearby Whitewater Canyon connects to the Pacific Crest Trail, a must-do experience on every serious hiker’s bucket list. Closer to the ground, bikers, runners, and off-road fans will find countless miles of sweeping vistas to explore.
For these reasons and more, Desert Hot Springs welcomes guests year-round. There are seasonal residents who come to stay for the winter, Europeans who come for desert heat in the summer, and urban dwellers from L.A. and beyond who stop to soak awhile.
Permanent residents are fiercely loyal to their community and proud of the positive changes afoot, grateful that Desert Hot Springs continues to offer a competitive cost of living that’s conveniently close to all the action.
In the background, more than 150,000 travelers zoom along nearby Interstate 10 every day. Still, Desert Hot Springs has maintained a welcoming atmosphere while adapting and evolving year after year.
But speaking of evolution, Desert Hot Springs is growing into something much more than just a tourist destination. Now more than ever, those who have chosen to put down roots here are seizing upon the same spirit of innovation that inspired early settlers, fostering an increasingly diverse and growing economy.
Desert Hot Springs was on the leading edge of permitting and facilitating large-scale cannabis enterprises as the first city in Southern California to permit legal cultivation.
Entrepreneurs, working in tandem with land use planners, law enforcement officials, and city project managers, have continued to build the infrastructure and expertise to create a dynamic trade association of cultivators.
Mayor Scott Matas says the city is already feeling the economic impact.
“Now that we’ve embarked on a cannabis business plan, that industry is bringing in workers who want to shop locally,” he explains.
“We are also in the process of adapting our tourism strategic plan to include ‘canna-tourism,’ to ensure that visitors can comfortably recreate and relax legally with all the services they need nearby.”
Meanwhile, business investment and development is exploding in other areas as well.
Desert Hot Springs has more than 2 million square feet of land entitled, approved, and ready for business development. In the past two years alone, more than 800,000 square feet of commercial space has been built or has begun construction. As a result, analysts project an estimated 38.59 percent in job growth over the next 10 years.
In addition, Desert Hot Springs is one of the few cities in the Coachella Valley to have been selected for designation of Qualified Opportunity Zones. Investors within these multiple-square-miles locations can take advantage of major tax benefits, such as deferring or eliminating federal taxes on capital gains.
It’s an opportunity that’s primed for the taking. Consumer demand analyses show that Desert Hot Springs offers numerous viable business opportunities including clothing stores, restaurants, grocery stores, health and personal care stores, and myriad other general merchandise stores.
National brands have already seized their chance. On the Palm Drive corridor, a Quick Quack Car Wash recently completed development. A major project from a national hotel brand is underway with 86 rooms, a restaurant, conference rooms, pools, and spas. Major national retailers that are already enjoying solid market share in Desert Hot Springs include Vons, AutoZone, Builders Supply, Dollar General, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Walgreens, Stater Bros., and Rite Aid. More are sure to follow.
“People joked that we made a big deal about getting a Taco Bell,” Mayor Scott Matas says of one recent project. “But, on opening day in January of this year, that Desert Hot Springs location set a one-day sales record for the entire company.”
From tourism to hospitality and modern industry, economic opportunities are bubbling up in Desert Hot Springs much like the miracle springs of old.
Says Mayor Matas, “Desert Hot Springs is open for business and presents a rare opportunity not readily available elsewhere.”
MAYOR PRO TEM:
Russell Bates, Joe McKee, Jan Pye
Total Population: 29,217
Median Age: 32
Average Household Income: $50,332
High School Diploma: 25%
Bachelor’s Degree: 7.5%
Graduate, Professional Degree: 4.4%
Accommodation, Food Services: 18%
Retail Trade: 13.5%
Healthcare, Social Assistance: 12.6%
Admin, Support, Waste Management Services: 10%
Educational Services: 5.3%
Arts, Entertainment, Recreation: 4%
Real Estate, Rental, Leasing: 2.7%
Professional, Scientific, Tech Services: 2.5%
Finance, Insurance: 1.1%
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Hunting: 1.7%