cathedral city amphitheater

Cathedral City: Up to the Challenge

June Allan Corrigan Current PSL, Vision

cathedral city amphitheater
The City’s nearly completed amphitheater complex is designed to seat approximately 2,900 people. It will offer 13 food truck spots, a playground, walking paths, concession stand, and four center-section lawn tiers equipped for art shows and vendor pop-ups.

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” said Scottish poet Robert Burns. Definitely an apt quote for 2020, yet Cathedral City is hardly allowing an obstacle like a pandemic get in its way. Developments are moving forward in the City — many in leaps and bounds — and effective programs are in place to help existing businesses navigate these challenging times.

Necessity: the Mother
of Reinvention

City Hall officials have been especially pro-active in reaching out to languishing restaurants and entertainment venues within Cathedral City. “Riverside County’s Great Plates program which provides meals to our seniors has proven to be a real boost to the restaurants who signed on. It’s kept them going,” said Mayor John Aguilar. Keeping small businesses in all sectors informed about the myriad of assistance available to them — relief programs such as EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan), the Payroll Protection Plan, PPE access and more — has been a priority.


John Aguilar

Mayor Pro Tem:

Raymond Gregory

Council Members:

Rita Lamb
Mark Carnevale
Ernesto M. Gutierrez

Year Incorporated:



Trying times call for creative solutions and the Mary Pickford Theater has shown itself equal to the task. It recently morphed into a superb site for a socially distanced job fair held by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians as they prepare for their new casino to open. However, the Mary Pickford wasn’t content to stop there. It went on to obtain a special use permit from the City in order to open a drive-in theater on a vacant lot directly across the street. Not to be outdone, the Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre (CVREP) is temporarily moving its operations outdoors as well. CVREP plans to present live stage performances this spring at the City’s newly completed $5.1 million-dollar amphitheater complex. Designed to seat 2,900 people, the amphitheater park can easily accommodate 210 socially distanced theatre goers until larger City festivals and events are able to resume.

• READ NEXT: View the Digital Edition of Vision.

Full Steam Ahead

Speaking of the new casino, the Tribe is on track to open its latest gaming and entertainment complex at the corner of Date Palm and East Palm Canyon Drives before the end of the year. Its highly anticipated debut will have a huge impact on Cathedral City’s Downtown Arts and Entertainment District. It is already spurring interest in a 13.5-acre property immediately south and across the street from the casino which is ripe for mixed use development.


A rendering of the Agua Caliente Casino Cathedral City located at the corner of Date Palm and East Palm Canyon Drive.

And as already mentioned, the Tribe was thrilled by the Mary Pickford Theater’s adaptive use as a job fair site — they interviewed more than 800 people for the 500 plus jobs the casino is creating within the City — and would like to hold additional job fairs there to recruit for other tribal interests as well.

The housing market is another bright spot in the current economic climate. Defying all odds, demand has not only increased, but home prices continue to rise outpacing figures from just a year ago. It’s not unusual for a Cathedral City listing to get snapped up within a day or even an hour. The outlook for builders is just as sunny. At the close of July this year, the City had issued as many building permits as it did in all of 2019 with almost half a year to go! Leading homebuilder D.R. Horton has been hard at work on Verano — a master-planned community featuring 329 homes near the corner of Landau and Verano Road in the northern corner of the City — and can hardly build the dwellings fast enough. Meanwhile, at press time, just a couple of homes remained available at The District East, the follow-up community to GHA Companies’ quickly sold out The District at the Edge development. The same builder’s Cathedral City 25 development — which offered new infill homes on generously-sized lots within established neighborhoods — was also a smashing success.

As unusual as this year has proven to be, Cathedral City has managed to recalibrate and adjust expectations, all the while maintaining a clear vision for its future.
Wheels Keep
on Turning

It’s hard to still the momentum of the auto industry and indeed sales inside the Cathedral City Auto Center have rebounded. Of course, having the distinction of being the largest automotive center in eastern Riverside County is an undeniable boost. Consider too, the exciting addition of the stunning new Shottenkirk Desert Lexus dealership which further cements the Auto Center’s standing. And yet there is still more to come.


Construction on the new $8.1 million downtown Fire Station 411.

Directly behind Shottenkirk’s $22-million-dollar investment sits a plot of land destined to become College of the Desert’s new strategically placed automotive technology training center. Not only will it prepare students for good-paying jobs in the automotive and transportation industries, it paves the way for a special synergy to develop between auto dealers and the College — the exact kind of environment the City of Cathedral City is always striving to foster.


The new $22 million Shottenkirk Desert Lexus dealership.

Meanwhile, construction on the Cathedral Canyon Drive bridge has commenced. The $22-million-dollar project is expected to be complete by the end of 2021, an achievement eagerly awaited by many including those associated with the CV Link. “Our City has long-range plans to maximize access to the CV Link for all of our neighborhoods so that people can travel to our Downtown Arts & Entertainment District and throughout the Coachella Valley,” said Mayor Aguilar. Cathedral City is also set to dedicate its new downtown Fire Station 411 intended to serve residents for the next 50 years. Scheduled to open in October, the $8.1 million project will host fire and ambulance services for the south side of the city in a state-of-the-art complex.

Keeping the Big Picture in Mind

As unusual as this year has proven to be, Cathedral City has managed to recalibrate and adjust expectations, all the while maintaining a clear vision for its future. The City remains committed to nurturing its business clusters – from its burgeoning Arts and Entertainment District to its exceptional Auto Center to its thriving cannabis industry, not to mention its bustling housing sector. Resiliency is the name of the game and Cathedral City knows how to play!

• READ NEXT: What is Ahead for the City of Coachella?

city stats


Total Population: 54,213

Median Age : 37.3


Average Household Income: $74,769

Median Household Income: $50,131

Annual Growth Rate: 0.83%

(% of population)

Healthcare/ Social Assistance: 16.26

Retail Trade: 12.97

Admin/Support/Waste Management Services: 11.89

Accommodation/Food Services: 11.87

Construction: 8.98

Other Services (excluding Public Administration): 6.57

Educational Services: 6.28

Professional/Scientific/Tech Services: 4.66

Arts/Entertainment/Recreation: 3.93

Public Administration: 2.88

Real Estate/Rental/Leasing: 2.70

Manufacturing: 2.49

(% of population age 25 and older)

High School Diploma: 26.93

Bachelor’s Degree: 13.79

Graduate/Professional Degree: 8.18

Source: Esri/Coachella Valley Economic Partnership