City of Palm Desert
Transforming The City While Preserving A Quality Of Life
MAYOR: Jan Harnik
MAYOR PRO TEM: Sabby Jonathan
COUNCIL MEMBERS: Kathleen Kelly, Gina Nestande, Karina Quintanilla
YEAR INCORPORATED: 1973
WEBSITE: cityofpalmdesert.org // engagepalmdesert.com
Dynamic development and fresh ideas are propelling Palm Desert forward into a new era of growth guided by the city’s established principles of smart planning and capitalizing on the city’s prime location in the Coachella Valley.
Palm Desert is the region’s established center for education, shopping, dining, arts, and entertainment, set in the middle of the Coachella Valley. The city’s location means Interstate 10 easily feeds traffic in from the north, while Highway 74 provides a route to and from the San Diego area.
“Palm Desert’s central location within the Coachella Valley includes three Interstate 10 access points. We consistently lead the region in retail sales, and our reputation as a leader in the implementation of strategic, thoughtful growth continues to expand as we reinvest in and reinvent our community,” says Eric Ceja, Director of Economic Development.
Throughout Palm Desert, new and revitalized business districts are moving from inspiration to construction. The flurry of activity that extends throughout the city includes creating a plan for revitalizing the Shops at Palm Desert mall site and overseeing new commercial and retail growth within the city’s north side.
The Shops at Palm Desert was developed in 1982 as a traditional enclosed mall with nearly one million square feet of space under one roof, situated on 72 acres along the heart of the Highway 111 corridor. After an extensive market study, the city initiated a plan for a public-private partnership to reimagine the site as a multi-use gathering place including retail, hospitality, office space, recreation, and housing. The city’s vision for the redevelopment of the mall will result in a high-quality site that establishes it as an iconic civic gathering place contributing to the existing character of the community.
Elsewhere, commercial development is booming across Palm Desert’s north side. The 18-acre, 130,000-square-foot Monterey Crossings project at the northeast corner of Dinah Shore Drive and Monterey Avenue has recently seen its first businesses open including Chick-fil-A and other fast casual dining options. A 130-room, four-story hotel is still in the works for the site.
Over at Cook Street and Interstate 10, a mere slap shot away from the new Acrisure Arena, expanded commercial developments and new hotels are ready to welcome sports and music fans alike. La Quinta Brewery recently relocated its main brewing operation and expanded to include a new restaurant along Technology Drive. In the same area, a new 92-room Holiday Inn Express opened, and another 96-room Staybridge Suites is set to begin construction soon.
The city’s north side boom encompasses much more than commercial and retail developments. The establishment and expansion of satellite campuses for California State University, San Bernardino and University of California, Riverside has firmly established Palm Desert as the region’s education and innovation center.
The CSUSB Palm Desert Campus is the Coachella Valley’s only four-year public university and plays a vital role in educating and training the region’s growing population. With a current enrollment of 1,600, the campus offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a doctorate in educational leadership, and teaching credentials and certificates. The California legislature recently approved a $79 million budget allocation to build the first phase of a 23,700-square-foot Student Center Building on the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus to accommodate up to 4,000 students with a wide variety of services essential to campus life.
The city has partnered with the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership to operate the Palm Desert iHub across the street from the university campuses with the goal of utilizing their high-speed broadband system — up to 1Gbps — to attract new technology startup companies and related jobs, further expanding the regional economy. iHub program advisors can assist early-stage startups achieve their business goals, preparing them for launch or commercialization. The Palm Desert iHub is also home to the Coachella Valley’s new degree programs in the high-demand fields of Cybersecurity, Entrepreneurship, and Hospitality Management, all offered by CSUSB Palm Desert.
The establishment of the satellite college campuses in Palm Desert set in motion a 400+ acre plan to create entirely new neighborhoods of up to 2,700 housing units, mixed use development, and parks and open space for recreation. Housing options within the University Neighborhood Specific Plan are already underway and will grow to include multi-family, alley-loaded units, duplexes, townhomes, and detached housing to accommodate a range of incomes and lifestyles. Additional affordable housing options are also fueling residential growth. With several projects approved and awaiting State financing, the city hopes to add another 800 units of affordable housing to support residents, businesses, and the expanding CSUSB Palm Desert campus.
Palm Desert’s commitment to safe, livable neighborhoods for its residents includes plans for well-connected ways for people to walk and bike throughout the city. At the heart of the plan is a re-envisioned network of pedestrian walkways and alternative vehicle transportation corridors including CVLink, the valley’s bicycle/low speed electric vehicle pathway, and a proposed system of related connector routes designed to expand CVLink’s reach. One part of that network, the protected bike lanes on San Pablo Avenue, demonstrate how it’s possible to connect shopping, restaurants, and other commercial services at El Paseo and Highway 111 with residential neighborhoods and civic uses including Palm Desert City Hall, College of the Desert, and Civic Center Park, in addition to connecting to CVLink.
“Our values are constant, yet our vision evolves. That tells the story of Palm Desert,” says Mayor Jan Harnik. “Our city drives the future and the pulse of our region through innovative thinking and programs. Palm Desert vigorously supports our community members and businesses, which are, in turn, strengthened by diverse and relevant educational opportunities.”
To learn more about development and business opportunities taking place in Palm Desert, contact the City’s Economic Development Division at 760-346-0611 or visit cityofpalmdesert.org.
Total Population – 51,638
Median Age – 58.8
Annual Growth Rate – .35%
Average Household Income – $123,282
Median Household Income – $76,812
(Ages 25 And Older)
High School Diploma – 17.78%
Bachelor’s Degree – 26.36%
Graduate / Professional Degree – 16.14%
Healthcare / Social Assistance – 13.58%
Retail Trade – 12.12%
Accommodations / Food Service – 11.97%
Professional / Scientific / Tech – 9.45%
Construction – 6.63%
Education Services – 7.31%
Manufacturing – 3.27%
Finance / Insurance – 3.39%
Real Estate / Rental / Leasing – 4.48%
Admin / Support / Waste Management Services – 5.42%
Arts / Entertainment / Recreation – 5%
Wholesale Trade – 2.23%
Transportation / Warehousing – 2.89%
SOURCE: Esri/Coachella Valley Economic Partnership