City of Palm Desert
A Wave Of Refreshing Progress
Words by City of Palm Desert
Photographs by City of Palm Desert
Dynamic development and fresh ideas continue to propel Palm Desert forward as the City’s plans for a reimagined and revitalized downtown move from inspiration to construction.
The heart of the exciting changes — and of Palm Desert’s new downtown — is San Pablo Avenue. The City is transforming the centrally located thoroughfare into a more active and inviting connection between El Paseo, Highway 111, CV Link, College of the Desert, and the Palm Desert Civic Center.
Planned improvements include expanded sidewalks where area businesses can offer street side dining and outdoor merchandise displays. The City is planting dozens of shade trees and installing pocket parks, protected bike lanes, and a roundabout. The goal is to make San Pablo a business-, pedestrian-, and bicycle-friendly destination for commerce, community, and special events.
Palm Desert’s recently updated General Plan opens the door to multi-story and mixed-use projects that will help the City realize the “Envision Palm Desert” strategic plan vision of a vibrant downtown.
A perfect example is the development of a mixed-use project on the southeast corner of San Pablo and Fred Waring Drive, where a proposed three-story complex includes 14,000 square feet of groundlevel specialty retail and restaurant space topped by 60 residences.
These projects represent a new type of smart urban development in Palm Desert that City planners are working to facilitate throughout the downtown core.
The growing opportunities for creative development are making waves beyond downtown including a patch of sand in the City’s north end where a proposed 18-acre luxury surf resort is set to break preconceptions about the kinds of fun to be found in the desert.
Scheduled to open in 2022, DSRT SURF at Palm Desert will give surfing enthusiasts, from novices to pros, a year-round opportunity to catch and ride their perfect wave in a climate that averages 350 days of annual sunshine. The project features a six-acre surfing lagoon complemented by a surf center with restaurants and a retail shop, 88 private villas, and two hotels with up to 350 total rooms.
Located less than a sand wedge away from the City’s award-winning Desert Willow Golf Resort and across the street from the Coachella Valley’s largest hotel — the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa — DSRT SURF at Palm Desert is a refreshingly unique project that is poised to become a must-see Southern California attraction.
Home to both California State University, San Bernardino and University of California, Riverside satellite campuses, Palm Desert also continues to establish itself as the region’s education and innovation center.
In addition to the more than 1,000 housing units that are being developed under Palm Desert’s University Neighborhood Specific Plan, the City is working to create an iHub (innovation hub) to complement the technology programs and courses offered at the neighboring Cal State campus.
The City has partnered with the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership on the iHub with the goal of utilizing the high-speed broadband system that serves the neighboring university campus’s economy.
Commercial development is also booming in Palm Desert with a new retail center, Monterey Crossings, under construction at the northeast corner of Dinah Shore Drive and Monterey Avenue. The 18-acre project includes a 130-room, four-story hotel along with 130,000 square feet of single-story commercial space. Signed tenants include Chick-fil-A, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, and Pokehana. Next door, a CarMax is under construction with completion expected this fall.
These are only a few of many exciting projects underway in Palm Desert. To learn more about development and business opportunities, contact the City’s Economic Development Division at 760-346-0611 or visit cityofpalmdesert.org.
MAYOR: Susan Marie Weber
MAYOR PRO TEM: Gina Nestande
COUNCIL MEMBERS: Jan Harnik, Sabby Jonathan, Kathleen Kelly
YEAR INCORPORATED: 1973
Total Population: 53,035
Median Age: 58
Average Household: $101,356
High School Diploma: 19%
Bachelor’s Degree: 23%
Graduate, Professional Degree: 16%
Accommodations, Food Services: 13%
Healthcare, Social Assistance: 13%
Retail Trade: 12%
Professional, Scientific, Tech Services: 8%
Educational Services: 7.5%
Arts, Entertainment, Recreation: 6%
Admin, Suppirt, Waste Management Services: 5%
Real Estate, Rental, Leasing: 4%
Finance, Insurance: 3%
Wholesale Trade: 2%