Keeping all its charm, sense of community and celebrating its rich history, La Quinta is looking forward to rebranding in the coming year to prepare for its launch as a larger destination resort in 2019 — regionally, nationally and internationally. The Montage and Pendry hotels will be a game changer, bringing their renowned brands of luxury accommodations and amenities to the scenic beauty of SilverRock. Their entourage of well-heeled travelers will no doubt follow. With all the fanfare of rolling out a red carpet for an exciting premiere, the overall look and feel of the city will receive a touch of enhancement — from the logo, landscaping, street signs and more.
Besides the new SilverRock developments, the city’s vision is sharply focused on Highway 111 — La Quinta’s portion of which encompasses 400 acres stretched over two miles. As sales tax from these Highway 111 businesses comprises 70 percent of the city’s general fund, it’s a smart focus.
MAYOR Pro Tem:
Possible Mixed Use on Highway 111
“With the rise in e-commerce and other factors, we anticipate there will be shifts in the market and we want to be ahead of the game,” said Gabriel Perez, city planning manager. “We are developing a plan to address this including looking at mixed use with a creative blend of commercial and residential along Highway 111. Mixed use is untested in the Coachella Valley. We’re excited to explore what we can develop in this area.”
Once completed, the long-awaited CV Link will travel through La Quinta near Highway 111 and this could bring an influx of up to 16,000 visitors annually. “We’re hoping to attract these visitors to stop in La Quinta, enjoy a bite to eat and shop,” said Perez. After all, La Quinta is a Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) certified city.
La Quinta is exploring possible mixed use with a creative blend of commercial and residential development along Highway 111.
A 21st Century City
Also a 21st Century City, La Quinta provides access to city services 24/7. Established this past year, La Quinta is the first city in the Coachella Valley to offer an online customer service center. Called The Hub, here, residents and business owners can apply for everything from business licenses, building permits to garage sale permits.
New Online Permit Process Brings Praise
When most people think of obtaining city permits and the approval process, a smile and compliments for ease and speed of doing business aren’t typically the first visions that come to mind. La Quinta has been quietly evolving as a leader in online, business friendly systems that streamline the process and save valuable time. Nicole Vann, a planner for 13 years at MSA Consulting is a fan. She works with all the Valley cities and in late 2016, she had the opportunity to be the first customer to use La Quinta’s online system for a commercial business project. “It saves a trip — you pay the fees by credit card and you can upload multiple page PDFs instead of having to print them out full size and hand deliver them. It’s so much quicker. I hope to see other cities do this,” she said.
New Interactive Map Keeps Residents in the Know
Another first for La Quinta is an interactive digital map that shows a summary and status of new projects with the click of a mouse on a map dot. You can find it under “Planning” on the city’s website. Currently there are 29 new developments at various stages. “We want to communicate with our residents so they always know what’s going on,” said Gilbert Villalpando, business analyst in the city’s economic development department. “We are transparent about what we are doing.”
Stop by La Quinta City Hall to view the new gallery exhibit “Making a City.”
The map not only promotes transparency with up-to-date details on projects, it helps garner enthusiasm by residents who begin talking about what’s coming as they eagerly await the new services. As Marcie Graham of the city’s marketing and communications department likes to say, “Everyone who lives and works in La Quinta is a brand ambassador.”
New Environmental Review Process Saves Businesses Months
In addition to permitting, the city also streamlined its standards for environmental review, which has significantly reduced turn around time. “Our standards are more flexible now which saves time which saves money,” said Perez. The new process is saving developers months depending on the project.
One example is El Pollo Loco, which is currently under construction at the southeast corner of Highway 111 and Simon Drive. The 2,600-square-foot drive through facility was permitted in two and a half months with the new, more flexible review process compared to what would have taken four to five months just a year ago.
The city also relaxed parking restrictions, especially helpful in The Village. “Before La Quinta had one of the strictest parking policies in the Valley and we realized this made it more difficult for developers,” said Perez. “Our parking is now on par with other cities.”
La Quinta doesn’t just attract businesses, the city stays involved. “We’re not just trying to draw them in. Once they are here, we set them up for success,” said Villalpando. “We put businesses in touch with resources and agencies to help them.” The city also invites businesses to get involved in city events.
A True Sense
Community gatherings are an important part of life in La Quinta and the city does much to foster the community spirit including hosting movies in the park, a holiday tree lighting in December, block parties and the city’s annual anniversary picnic in April.
One enthusiastic community-oriented business is Jules Market, the only locally-owned grocery store in La Quinta, which just celebrated its two-year anniversary this past August. “As a neighborhood market, it’s important to be a member of the community and get out and interact with the community,” said CEO Jeremy Cullifer.
Roadrunner at the roundabout at Jefferson and Avenue 52 now has a new plaque at the base that stamps La Quinta, California as the destination in all those circulated selfie photos.
Jules Market has participated in the tree lighting, events at the Wellness Center and developed a home grocery delivery program to meet the needs of the elderly or those otherwise without transportation. This fall, Jules Market will host an interactive game about healthy eating as part of Image Make — an immersive city event to be held November 18 that will feature music, art, food and spotlight the great things to do in The Village. The event also will showcase upcoming transportation improvements. “Infrastructure can be boring, so we’re creating a simulation to engage the residents and demonstrate a planned roundabout for smoother flow at Desert Club and Calle Tampico and mid-block crossings to enhance The Village experience,” said Perez.
Take A Self-Guided Art Tour
The beauty of La Quinta does not stop with breathtaking vistas from hiking elevations or spectacular painted mountains at dawn or dusk. Art is an integral part of the reputation and lifestyle in La Quinta — from the famed La Quinta Arts Festival and Art on Main Street to 120 works of public art that can be enjoyed year-round (Download an art map at laquintaca.gov). One of the latest art installations is the towering TREX in the library courtyard — a magnificent piece that will delight your children or inner child.
The current plans and future vision of La Quinta would not be possible without an excellent foundation on which to build. To preserve the city’s heritage, a permanent gallery exhibit opened this past summer. “Making a City” is on display at City Hall to recognize the city founders and progress through the opening of SilverRock, as well as provide inspiration for new milestones of The Gem of the Desert.
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