The Palm Springs Downtown Revitalization Plan is underway with the Palomar hotel, a vibrant, open-air shopping center and a wide new boulevard leading to the Palm Springs Art Museum all in progress. For locals and visitors alike, there are so many reasons to be excited about the changes coming to Downtown and below we have listed our top five.
1) Now is the time!
For decades, downtowns have been viewed as a problem, an antiquated type of district struggling for relevance in the explosion of suburbia. But in today’s rapidly changing regional economies, yesterday’s liability is often today’s asset. Suddenly, downtowns are hot again, for a whole range of reasons and for the first time in two generations, they are the cornerstone of regional economic development.
2) Cool, new places for the locals to enjoy
While Palm Springs has a high concentration of tourists and seasonal visitors, it also enjoys a vibrant full-time population and year-round businesses. With the influx of new development, locals will, probably more than any other group, reap the benefits of an updated and upgraded shopping/dining/entertainment district with a nationwide search for the biggest and best currently in process. Just last week, city leaders attended the International Council of Shopping Center’s annual conference to promote the project and attract new tenants.
3) Increased sense of community
As with any true desert town, outside spaces are essential for allowing us to enjoy the 10 months of spectacular weather. Measure J has put a focus on ensuring that Downtown is a pedestrian friendly area with parks, outdoor entertainment venues and other open air amenities. These are the areas that foster community connections and provide opportunities for neighborly camaraderie.
Â 4) A return to grandeur
Since the 1920s, Palm Springs has been Hollywood’s desert playground for celebrities to relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of showbiz. As such, Palm Springs flourished and became known as a place sprinkled with â€œHollywood stardust.â€
It is this stardust that drove a healthy economy fueled by tourism and high dollar real estate sales. Downtown destinations such as Desert Fashion Plaza, built in the 1960s, were humming and the area served as a gathering place for the rich and famous.
Fast forward to the 21st century and you will see that the area no longer has tourist appeal and instead has become rundown and tired. With a full refresh of the area, we think that there is an opportunity to return some of the pizzazz that the area has lost over the years bringing with it increased property values, tax income and foot traffic to surrounding businesses.
5) Economic benefits
Change is scary, especially when no one can truly predict the outcome of any development project. And while we understand apprehension, we would also like to point to a successful revitalization project not very far away.
In 2004, Phoenix, Arizona launched a revitalization plan called Downtown Phoenix: A Strategic Blueprint for the future. The guide contained 40 strategic recommendations and ten priority areas of focus, and continues to serve as a framework for the City to pursue the comprehensive revitalization of the downtown. Since the launch of this plan (and even in the midst of the state’s and the country’s epic financial meltdown), Downtown Phoenix has made great strides. Between 2006 and 2013 the broader 1.5 square mile redevelopment area included in the plan received more than $4 billion in investment in areas including transportation, office, residential, education and research, arts, culture, sports, and hospitality.
It is success like this that make us excited about the positive impact that the Palm Springs Downtown Revitalization Plan could have on our city.