John Monahan had been visiting Palm Springs regularly for about 15 years when he noticed that the 1968 Alan Ladd Building was for sale. “I knew it was a landmark building in a great location, and the price was right, so I jumped at it,” Monahan says. “I felt there was a need in Palm Springs for a Class A office building. Working with an architect, we made the building into what I call a concierge-driven building, with numerous amenities.”
The 30,000-square-foot building on South Palm Canyon Drive — now called The Five Hundred — was converted into an executive office building that also houses Ristretto café, which serves Italian coffee, sandwiches, and freshly baked muffins and scones. “The tenants love it, and there’s really no place like this in town. We are getting a nice reputation with customers returning to Ristretto frequently.” The on-site sundry shop, et Alia, offers snacks and organic food “that you don’t find at a regular mini mart or convenience store. It caters to the type of tenants that we have,” he says.
“In addition, we created what’s called the Boardroom, a conference area that seats 12. It has high-end audiovisual equipment, available for rent by the tenants and any other organization within Palm Springs that needs a meeting space.”
No longer a visitor, Monahan lives in the valley full time. “When I started coming here, it was about once a month for the weekend. Now it’s reversed. I spend most of my time in Palm Springs and visit L.A. about once a month,” he says.
“The Coachella Valley is a great place to live,” he continues. “The quality of life is better, the cost of living is lower, it has arts and entertainment, relaxation, hiking, great weather, and golf. There is everything you want, including great shopping.