City of Palm Desert
A New Era Of Growth Guided By New Strategic And General Plans
Words by David Hermann
Photographs by Chris Miller/Imagine Imagery
Palm Desert is experiencing exciting changes as plans for a reimagined and revitalized downtown are stimulating new development across the city.
A particularly inviting example of this new development is Hotel Paseo, a new 150- room boutique hotel that opened in March 2018. Part of Marriott’s prestigious Autograph Collection, the four-star property features a pool, spa, valet parking, an underground parking garage, and conference and banquet facilities. One of the hotel’s most tantalizing features is a new dining destination — AC3, a culinary partnership between chefs Andrew and Juliana Copley of Copley’s on Palm Canyon in Palm Springs and TRIO restaurateur Tony Marchese.
The unique nature of Hotel Paseo’s accommodations is playfully and luxuriously illustrated in a fully restored 1950s-era Airstream trailer that is permanently parked poolside to serve as a one-of-a-kind public art piece.
In addition to Hotel Paseo, the city’s new General Plan has opened the door to other multistory and mixed-use projects that will help the city realize its vision of a dynamic downtown. Storefronts on El Paseo are already being filled with new shops, and empty lots are being purchased for developments that will combine retail, office, and residential uses.
An example of this is the proposed development of El Paseo’s first retail and residential mixed-use project. The three-story building, featuring first-floor retail space combined with second and third floor apartments, is expected to break ground next year.
On nearby San Pablo Avenue, the city is moving forward with plans to transform the centrally located thoroughfare into a more inviting connection between El Paseo/Highway 111 and the Palm Desert Civic Center and College of the Desert. Planned changes include expanded outdoor areas for local businesses to encourage streetside dining and displays as well as narrowing the street to one lane in each direction and installing roundabouts, enhanced sidewalks, and protected bike lanes.
Home to satellite campuses for both State university systems, Palm Desert continues to establish itself as the region’s education center. The city’s University Neighborhood Specific Plan has laid the groundwork for a range of housing types to accommodate college students, educators, new families, and young professionals. Developer BlackRock has already submitted a site plan for nearly 1,100 homes to be built in a variety of configurations. This project is proposing fresh, exciting concepts for the desert such as small, 4,000-square-foot lots, community yoga pads, and bike path networks.
Nearby, Genesis at Millennium is finishing its first phase and is ready to proceed with Phase 2, which will add another 86 homes to the 80 already built. A 3.5- acre commercial site on Technology Drive has been purchased, and two hotels are currently in design. It is anticipated that the developers will break ground in Spring 2019.
The University Neighborhood Specific Plan underscores the city’s commitment to the expansion of the university campuses that will bring greater access to higher education for Coachella Valley residents and spur regional economic growth.
Another tangible example is the city’s work to create an Innovation Hub in Palm Desert. The city has partnered with the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership with the goal of utilizing the nearby universities’ high-speed broadband system to attract new technology startup companies and related jobs, thereby expanding the economy.
Palm Desert and the entire Coachella Valley also continue to benefit from the city’s one-of-a-kind signature events, the foremost of which is Fashion Week El Paseo. The largest consumer fashion show west of the Mississippi celebrated its 13th year in 2018, once again perched atop The Gardens on El Paseo in a big white tent next to Saks Fifth Avenue. Attendance topped 13,200 at the eight-day event, which raised more than $71,000 for seven charities and is estimated to have had a nearly $5 million impact on the regional economy.
Fashion Week was followed by the eighth annual Palm Desert Food & Wine, a three-day celebration of all things delectable and drinkable. More than 5,000 attendees raised nearly $18,000 for The Friends of the James Beard Foundation and FIND Food Bank.
Palm Desert is entering a new era of growth guided by new strategic and general plans that bring exciting changes to the community while preserving the uniquely wonderful quality of life enjoyed by residents and visitors.
To learn more about business opportunities in Palm Desert, contact the City’s Economic Development Division at 760-346-0611 or visit online cityofpalmdesert.org.
MAYOR PRO TEM:
Susan Marie Weber
Jan Harnik, Kathleen Kelly, Gina Nestande
Total Population: 52,568
Median Age: 57
Average Household Income: $103,759
High School Diploma: 19%
Bachelor’s Degree: 22%
Graduate, Professional Degree: 15%
Accommodation, Food Services: 14%
Healthcare, Social Assistance: 13%
Arts, Entertainment, Recreation: 7%
Professional, Scientific, Tech Services: 7%
Admin, Support, Waste Management Services: 6%
Educational Services: 6%
Retail Trade: 4%
Real Estate, Rental, Leasing: 4%
Finance, Insurance: 2%
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Hunting: 2%