Special Published by DesertSun.com
Palm Springs, which has a rich and profound history, was a gem that had lost its luster during the 1990s and 2000s. That changed in 2011 when the citizens of Palm Springs approved Measure J, which now brings in $13 million annually in new tax revenue and jump-started the revitalization of Palm Springs.
Measure J has also helped to bring new businesses, jobs and events to Palm Springs and funded the acquisition of 1,000 parking spaces to expand free parking for the community. It also provided funds to acquire property to create new public streets and a public park.
This investment paved the way for Grit Development to create an engaging experience for our community and visitors opening this fall in downtown.
We greatly appreciate how our vision for a vibrant, architecturally significant mixed-use district rooted in the natural history and contemporary vitality of Palm Springs is being carried out in the design for the downtown park. The Rios Clementi Hale Studios team has done a wonderful job of listening to the community and imagining an authentic gathering place that could only happen here.
When constructed in 2018, the park will offer a shady oasis for residents and visitors alike. Sited on the grounds of the historic Desert Inn, the design draws on Palm Springs’ legacy as a destination for health, nature and pleasure seekers.
The space will include palm groves inspired by our magnificent Indian Canyons, an eco-lawn, an amphitheater for community events, artful ‘cloud’ shade canopies and a ‘spring’ water feature for play and relaxation. Nellie Coffman, the Desert Inn’s founder, famously espoused the “space, stillness, solitude, and simplicity” of Palm Springs, and this park will be imbued with her spirit.
Natural materials, native plantings and creative comforts will make it cherished common ground for the growing Palm Springs community. The park also provides permanent sites for the 26-foot tall Forever Marilyn statue and Albert Frey and Lawrence Kocher’s 1931 Aluminaire House.
Opening this fall, the Rowan Hotel by Kimpton overlooking this oasis will be the place where millennials and baby boomers alike will want to stay and experience our reborn city. The energy around the hotel with this new park will stimulate a more positive street life and reinforce Palm Springs as a top leisure destination in Southern California.
The downtown project’s second phase will see a 142-room Virgin Hotel and the revitalization of the historically significant Town & Country Center. Phase 3 will bring additional housing options, a major grocery retailer and a gym.
Time has never been more important and shoppers demand a higher return on their investment of their time when visiting or strolling through a downtown area. They want to buy something that makes memories and that's exactly what Palm Springs is now offering our visitors and locals alike.
Email Michael Braun, president of Grit Development, at Michael@gritps.com.