KESQ EXCLUSIVE: Inside The Rowan Palm Springs

Bianca Rae gets an exclusive tour

Image: KESQ | 4Saints Palm Springs Restaurant on the Roofdeck

Image: KESQ | 4Saints Palm Springs Restaurant on the Roofdeck

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Perhaps the best way to put Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs in perspective is to hear it described by someone who has worked at 12 of the brand's hotels in five different locations. 

"This one is hard to place, it's so far and beyond," Abe Liao, the general manager of The Rowan, said. 

He gave me his very first TV interview about the hotel.

Palm Springs is a great cross of art and culture and dining. At the heart is the redevelopment project, and at the heart of that is our hotel," he said. 

We are giving you a first look. 

"We're 153 guest rooms, 1/3 are upgraded between suites, oversized rooms, mountain views. Total event space 4000 in the building and when you consider the rooftop it grows to over 10,000 square feet. We anticipate being very popular for events," Liao said. "The views are unparalleled. It's magical being right up against the base and peer out over the mountains. It's something special."
The Rowan not only has spectacular mountain views, it's also dishing out various dining experiences.

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Redefining Downtown

Palm Springs Life Sneak Peak inside The Rowan Hotel, a botique hotel in Downtown Palm Springs

KMIR: Downtown Kimpton Boutique Hotel Makes Progress

Click to Watch Video from KMIR

Downtown Palm Springs, CA

Last we toured The Rowan by Kimpton, in Downtown Palm Springs, many of the rooms didn't have walls and now most of the fixtures and flooring are in and while it's not quite ready for guests to check in, the hotel has made huge progress. The hotel is part of the Downtown Redevelopment Project's $150 million first phase that includes apartments and offices.  

Just four months ago, the outside still had scaffolding, but now, it's looking more and more like the boutique hotel the now CEO of Grit Development, Michael Braun, envisioned.

"We're really happy about the progress the project is on time right now it will open up this fall," says Braun.

The living room area where guests and locals are invited to meet and mingle has been transformed by warm woods.

"We need to be good neighbors with this project, it needs to basically fit in with the makeup of Palm Springs," says Braun. 

Now the grand fire place, surrounded by a giant bookshelf, made by local woodworker, Paul Kaufmann, is looking more inviting.

"The hotel is 95 percent complete ... we're basically down to the last details that need to be executed," says Braun. 

The Rowan's 150  rooms are just about  guest ready.

Braun says many are designed  with families in mind, "A lot of suites 32 connecting rooms  so that families can stay there with their children," adding families are their main demographic. 

Almost all rooms have incredible views but the event room, is special thanks to walls that disappear merging the space with endless views of Palm Springs.

"We always knew we just cannot build a box for visitors to come here we need to do something architecturally significant ... to bring another landmark to Downtown Palm Springs," says Braun. 

Braun tells me the hotel is set to open in November and will bring 180 jobs to Palm Springs, adding that projections show it will bring $100 million over the next 30 years in tax revenue alone

To see original story visit: KMIR Stay Tuned for more updates on The Rowan Palm Springs

Valley Voice: New park will cap Palm Springs makeover

Valley Voice: New park will cap Palm Springs makeover

The new park in Downtown Palm Springs will cap Palm Springs Makeover. Everyone will be able to enjoy the city and park setting while dining and shopping and taking in what Palm Springs has to offer.

Sneak Peek: Kimpton’s Latest Resort Brings Modern Luxury to Palm Springs

Sneak Peek: Kimpton’s Latest Resort Brings Modern Luxury to Palm Springs

BY PHOEBE NEUMAN ON JULY 21, 2017 | Robb Report

The sleek hotel will boast some of the best views—and the only rooftop pool—in town.

Dusty Palm Springs is in the midst of a major revitalization, with a flux of new restaurants, boutiques, and luxurious hotel opening in the heart of the resort town. Leading the charge of city’s modern transformation is Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs, which will be downtown Palm Spring’s first new build hotel to open in decades when it welcomes its inaugural set of guests in October.

The Rowan marks Kimpton’s first venture into the region, and the brand—which is largely known for luxurious urban oases—has artfully mixed its city-slicker style with the midcentury modern high-desert design that has come to define Palm Springs. The resulting sleek seven-story building is filled with natural light—making the most of the dramatic San Jacinto Mountains and Coachella Valley vistas by employing windows at every turn. For an even better way to take in the sweeping views, guests of the hotel can head to the rooftop—which is the highest rooftop in the city, and the only one to feature a sparklingly blue pool.

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Kimpton Rowan Hotel Room

Kimpton Rowan Hotel Room


Thought Leadership - Michael Braun recaps ICSC in Las Vegas

Recently Michael Braun, President of Grit Development attended the annual ICSC RECon in Las Vegas. It is the global convention for the shopping center industry and provides networking, deal making and educational opportunities for retail real estate professionals from around the world. This year there were over 37,000 attendees and 1,200 exhibitors it is the largest industry convention. 

We thought you would like to hear his thoughts and read some of his notes surrounding the event. 

Today, destination trends are beamed into every home via apps like Instagram or countless travel television shows.  Travel, fashion, and food blogs broadcast up-to-the-minute information on trends, and a legion of apps—from Travel and Leisure to countless others—have put powerful mobile tools in every visitors pocket.

  • We are moving away from buying stuff

  • We are becoming an Experience Economy, a Participating Economy

  • Retail spaces will be living spaces -Social Hubs

  • Grocery & Dinner Restaurants key components

  • Retailers must become primary educational and social hubs to remain relevant

  • Experience or Click

  • Apple is a social experience and everyone is following

  • Amazon is ahead regarding logistics cutting out the middle man

  • Do not even try to compete with Amazon - you will lose

  • If it does not work on your phone - forget it

  • Retailers and Landlords together must create experiences & services combined - mixture of offerings - otherwise your Product and Center will be "Amazoned" becoming obsolete.

Key Take Aways - Various Meetings

  • Never before have CEO's focused on presidential policies as this year, Trump could be very disruptive for the consumer and the retail environment.

  • Things are still good, the environment is stable.

  • Palm Springs is hip and "cool" becoming the playground for brand ambassadors driven largely by its ever thriving tourist industry.

  • Luxury and Value (discount) are in demand and winning. As the middle class tier retailers are struggling to find its identity and to compete with the Internet.

  • The growing wealth of the nations 1% keeps driving the LVMN, Hermes and other luxury retailers

  • The middle class is shrinking and so are the mid tier retailer and mom and pop shops

  • The anchor store is dying, malls are reinventing themselves

  • Data is key for everyone

  • The next 3 years 25% of existing retailers will be in financial distress and be replaced, a big challenge for landlords

  • We will continue to see more conventional stores closing, however we will simultaneously see unconventional stores opening.

  • Marketing budgets are being redistributed toward brand ambassadors posting on Instagram, Facebook and TripAdvisor.

  • CAPEX Investment in Technology vs Store Expansion

  • Today's consumer want to hear the TRUTH from their peers, they are no longer interested in the marketing pitch

  • The Future for Brick and Motar looks bright: Do not compete with the Internet & Amazon; embrace it to your advantage

  • The impulse buyer is no longer driving the retail industry

  • Retail Experience is driving consumer behavior

  • Amazonation of Retail has begun

  • Shopping centers are becoming Destinations, Places to socialize and experience

  • Brick and Mortar needs to focus on items the Internet can not provide

  • In 2017/18 more than 50% of shopping center destinations visitors will come to eat, not to shop

  • Food uses that bring people in and give them multiple reasons to shop are KEY

  • Big Box is dead, landlords must build appealing buildings consumer want to enter to create premium experiences.

  • Tenants will have to invest more money in their showrooms and they ask landlords contribute

  • The face of Retail will change in the next 5 years in more ways than in the past 50 years

  • Internet

  • Value driven Consumer

  • Experience driven Consumer (Millenniums) / Baby Boomers

  • Destinations Experiences

  • Hospitality - interestingly a lot ofpeople call for the "death" of the limited service Hotel expansions, unless it's Motel 6 or Holiday Express, most Brands will disappear as only the low end value driven segment and or the Luxery high End Segment will thrive and it is no different in the retail or restaurant business. Value or Experience.

Michael Braun



In News by Brian Lipton

Grit Development’s new multi-use project in downtown Palm Springs, California will have a grand opening this November, with such tenants as apparel retailer H&M, ski care retailer Kiehl’s, and island-inspired Tommy Bahama restaurant and bar having recently signed on to the project.

The new development will be anchored by the Kimpton Rowan Hotel, scheduled to debut in September, which will feature the city’s first-ever rooftop bar and pool. Furniture retailer West Elm already opened in the space last fall, and additional tenants will include Free People, Francesca’s, and Starbucks Reserve.

“After a decade of planning and hard work, we’re thrilled to share the project is near completion,” said Grit Development’s president Michael Braun. “Once complete, this project will put Palm Springs back on the map as a top destination. Visitors can enjoy staying at luxurious accommodations, shopping eclectic brands and dining at incredible restaurants — all within walking distance and surrounded by beautiful scenery and views few can match.”

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After deciding the location of a tree, Tommy Bahama moves forward in Palm Springs

After deciding the location of a tree, Tommy Bahama moves forward in Palm Springs

An architect's sketch of the outdoor patio at a new Tommy Bahama restaurant in downtown Palm Springs. (Photo: Submitted photo: Tommy Bahama)

An architect's sketch of the outdoor patio at a new Tommy Bahama restaurant in downtown Palm Springs. (Photo: Submitted photo: Tommy Bahama)

Written By: Skip Descant - Desert Sun

The Palm Springs Planning Commission and officials with Tommy Bahama restaurant seem to have finally decided on the placement of a tree.

Tommy Bahama plans to open a retail and restaurant location on Palm Canyon Drive in the downtown redevelopment project. Much of the restaurant’s seating is planned to be outdoors, overlooking a plaza and the street front. At the center of the plaza – which sits at the corner of Palm Canyon Drive and the new street known as Museum Way, which leads to the front door of the Palm Springs Art Museum -- will be a large shade tree, complete with a seating planter around it.

City and restaurant officials have spent weeks debating the location of the tree, in an effort to place it in spot that assures ample outdoor seating for Tommy Bahama, an adequate public gathering space and unimpeded views of the art museum.

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Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza Announces Grand Opening of New Coachella Valley Location

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 20, 2017) - Blaze Fast-Fire'd Pizza, the fast-casual artisanal pizza concept known for its chef-driven menu and casually hip restaurants, announced today that it will open a new Coachella Valley location, in Palm Springs, on Friday, March 24th. To celebrate the grand opening, the Palm Springs restaurant will offer FREE build-your-own artisanal pizzas on Monday, March 27th from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. to anyone who follows Blaze Pizza on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. The highly anticipated restaurant, which features a 2,800 square foot interior with seating for 72 and an additional 56 seats on an outdoor patio, is located at 201 N. Palm Canyon Drive, at the corner of Andreas Road. This will be the seventh franchised Blaze location that veteran operators Rick Fortman and Joe Stein have opened in the Inland Empire, including a location in Palm Desert and Riverside Plaza.

Blaze Pizza is a modern day "pizza joint" serving up artisanal pizzas that are both fast and affordable. Since its first restaurant debuted in 2012, Blaze has quickly become one of the nation's hottest restaurant concepts, with fans lining up each day for the custom-built pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s'more pies. Each restaurant features an interactive open-kitchen format that allows guests to customize one of the menu's signature pizzas or create their own, choosing from a wide selection of fresh, artisanal ingredients -- all for about $8. The generously-sized personal pizzas are then sent to a blazing hot open-flame oven -- the centerpiece of the restaurant -- where dedicated pizzasmiths ensure that the thin-crust pies are fast-fire'd and ready to eat in just 180 seconds. Restaurants make their own dough from scratch using a recipe developed by critically-acclaimed Executive Chef Bradford Kent (the "Pizza Whisperer"), which requires a 24-hour fermentation period to produce his signature light-as-air, crisp crust. Almost all of the pizza and salad ingredients are free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and fillers and for pizza fans with specific dietary needs, Blaze Pizza offers gluten-free dough and vegan cheese. The new Palm Springs restaurant will also feature a selection of wine and draft beer.

"Our mission at Blaze is really simple -- we're taking pizza back to its roots," said Jim Mizes, president & COO of Blaze Pizza. "By making dough in-house, carefully sourcing ingredients, and cooking by fire, we're giving guests a great way to enjoy artisanal pizza without the wait. It's changing the way people think about and eat pizza." 

Blaze's obsessive attention to detail extends well beyond the food, with a carefully considered, modern approach to restaurant design. Driven by its commitment to "Intelligent Choices for Our Pizzas, People & Planet," the restaurant is constructed with recycled and sustainable materials, uses eco-friendly packaging, and features energy-efficient LED lighting. Additionally, many of the restaurant's unconventional design elements were inspired by the company's celebration of individual expression.

Blaze Pizza is looking forward to continuing to build strong roots within the community. To that end, the company has developed a turn-key in-restaurant fundraiser program that returns 20% of an event's proceeds back to local organizations, and will be partnering with local schools, sports clubs and other organizations to host fundraising events at the new restaurant.

About Blaze Pizza
The first Blaze Pizza® restaurant opened on Aug. 6, 2012, in Irvine, Calif., and quickly gained attention for its chef-driven recipes, thoughtful interior design, and a service culture that celebrates individuality. Now ranked as the overall #2 fast-casual brand in's annual Top 100 list, Blaze Pizza is building momentum and developing a cult-like following as it expands across the country. The company currently operates 182 restaurants in 32 states and Canada, including the major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Boston. Founded by Elise and Rick Wetzel (co-founder of Wetzel's Pretzels), the concept is backed by investors including LeBron James, Maria Shriver, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner and movie producer John Davis. For more information, please visit and or click here to view a company video.


Celebrates Palm Springs by Showcasing Local Makers and Artisans in Store

BROOKLYN, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Home furnishings retailer West Elm announced today it will open a new store in Palm Springs on Thursday, September 1 at 10 a.m. The 10,076 square-foot West Elm store is the anchor tenant of the Downtown Palm Springs Revitalization Project, bringing approximately 30 jobs to the area. Located on the ground floor at 201 N. Palm Canyon Drive, West Elm will be the first of several new retailers and restaurants expected to open in the new mixed-used development downtown. As part of West Elm’s LOCAL program, products from 15 California-based makers and designers will be featured with the brand’s fall assortment of modern furnishings and décor.

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“Opening our store downtown is just the beginning of our commitment to honoring the city’s heritage as the epicenter of Mid-century modern design and contributing to the vibrancy of Downtown Palm Springs.”
— West Elm president Jim Brett