Opportunity and growth are the two words that most aptly describe today's Palm Desert. Energized hospitality and education sectors are combining with a renewed emphasis on special events and arts and culture to bring exciting changes to the city.
Already renowned as the "Rodeo Drive of the Desert," Palm Desert's El Paseo is poised for historic change this year as developers prepare to break ground on a new boutique hotel that will be the first of its kind in the city.
Hotel Paseo will be a 152-room, four-star hotel featuring a pool, spa, dining, a ballroom, valet parking, an underground parking garage, and 24-hour room service.
Located on just over two acres next to The Gardens on El Paseo and stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Tommy Bahama, and Louis Vuitton, the hotel is expected to open in 2017 bringing more visitors, energy, and activity to the Coachella Valley's most celebrated shopping destination.
Other exciting developments on El Paseo include the proposed creation of a block-long street event space that could be home to concerts, festivals, art shows, and Palm Desert signature events. Reminiscent of a miniature, temporary version of Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, the proposed event space would periodically occupy the roadway and median between San Pablo Avenue and Larkspur Lane.
An enhanced focus on special events is also energizing changes at Westfield Palm Desert. The Coachella Valley's only regional mall has reimagined the rooftop of its three-story parking structure in order to create a unique 88,000-squarefoot open-air event space that will be called The Deck.
Offering unobstructed and unparalleled views of the surrounding valley and mountains, The Deck is envisioned as a popular new venue for everything from art festivals and concerts to pop-up restaurants and corporate events.
The Deck will host its first high-profile event on Nov. 7, 2015, with the debut of Street, an interactive party that blends the worlds of street-inspired art, music, food, and fashion. Guests will experience and help create art under the stars to the sounds of live indie blues and house music spun by professional DJs. A taste-tempting variety of authentic street food will satisfy other appetites.
Street is the kickoff event for First Weekend Palm Desert, a monthly celebration of arts and culture that occurs the first weekend of the month, November through May.
A block away, One Eleven Town Center has completed its transformation from a largely vacant strip mall to newly renovated home of the region's first Whole Foods and Nordstrom Rack locations. A new Home Goods store is also part of this exciting development.
Development activity in Palm Desert extends beyond new hotels, event venues, and retail. At College of the Desert, construction projects continue to make progress as other recently completed multimillion-dollar buildings now serve students and faculty.
The news is also exciting at Cal State San Bernardino's Palm Desert Campus where the college's inaugural freshman class has entered its third year of instruction further establishing the school's status as the Coachella Valley's first and only public four-year university.
The city recently underscored its commitment to the expansion of Cal State's presence in Palm Desert with a 113-acre gift of land that will allow the Palm Desert Campus to more than triple in size. A larger campus will bring greater access to higher education for Coachella Valley residents and spur regional economic growth.
The accreditation of the University of California, Riverside's new medical school has paved the way for an expansion of UCR's presence in Palm Desert. University officials have announced plans for a new ambulatory medical center on the school's Palm Desert campus as well as continuing medical education and research facilities to complement the medical school.
Palm Desert continues to grow while maintaining fiscal responsibility and preserving the uniquely wonderful quality of life enjoyed by residents and visitors. The economic activity taking place in Palm Desert today places the community on course to continue its tradition of prosperity and innovation for years to come.
To learn more about business opportunities in Palm Desert, contact the city's Economic Development Division at 760-346-0611 or visit www.cityofpalmdesert.org.
Susan Marie Weber
Robert A. Spiegel
Jan Harnik, Sabby Jonathan, Van Tanner