JUDITH SALKINOCTOBER 12, 2017VISION

Downtown Palm Springs Aerial

Over the past decade the City of Palm Springs has worked diligently to do the impossible — retain the small-town, village atmosphere from the 1920s and still be a 21st century hotspot.

With involved leaders, residents, and businesses, that blend is becoming a reality.

The Downtown Project has been the key to revitalizing the city with its mix of retail, restaurants, office space, and hotels with a fresh face that plays on the city’s pristine midcentury architectural past. The Palm Springs International Film Festival entices industry executives and film lovers in January and the multi-generational Tour de Palm Springs adds thousands of cyclists from all over the country in February.

More events like the Splash House summer concerts in June and August and Comic Con brings 20-somethings, hipsters and SciFi/Fantasy lovers of all ages to the desert to enjoy the August heat.

These events, along with Modernism Week in February and its preview weekend in October have changed the perception of the Coachella Valley’s gateway city around the world.

For City Manager David Ready, the past 17 years have been crucial in defining the city’s goals, including a downtown that meets the needs of visitors and residents.

The Downtown Project, he says, plays a key role when it comes to giving visitors and residents the experience both are looking for.

We have the best of both worlds with the Downtown and Uptown districts on Palm Canyon,” Ready says. “The new hotels, retail, and restaurants, add a new demographic to the mix we are seeing.”

Summer events geared to a younger audience have seen Palm Springs bloom as a year-round destination for snowbirds from Canada and across the country to the SoCal drive market who come out for midweek or weekend visits when hotel rates are less expensive.

The number of hotels in the city has grown, and there is added interest from luxury chains that might have passed on Palm Springs in earlier years. Kimpton’s The Rowan Palm Springs, which anchors the Downtown Project on Tahquitz Canyon Way is set to open by early December 2017, according to Michael Braun, President of Grit Development. The Virgin Hotel, while slightly delayed, is expected to break ground in Summer 2018 and open for business in 2020.

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