Bad economic news is good news for a Palm Springs downtown mall. After years of wrangling and finagling plans to demolish the Desert Fashion Plaza and replace it with an extremely costly lifestyle center that could take 15 years to build, the developer has decided to go with a much less ambitious, yet more well received plan. Proposed is a 50 million dollar plan to put a facelift on the mall that would include the addition of a movie theatre, new street and a facelift possibly reflecting a mid century modern façade. This is considered a much more realistic plan than the original one which would cost 500-600 million dollars and include close to 1,000 condo units and 700 hotel rooms.
Many Palm Springs residents were worried about the original project causing a density problem with so many units proposed, with some buildings reaching close to 80 feet into the sky. The new plan seems to be getting the nod from most people including city officials who see the plan as much more realistic. The stay of execution for the Palm Springs downtown mall is happy news for residents who are eager to see the project finished, which is predicted to happen in two to five years.
Some see the plan as a great way to bring a much needed revitalization project to fruition with the least amount of controversy. Given the current market, the developer feels this is the most prudent plan to get the popular Palm Springs downtown mall back up to snuff and keep Palm Springs residents from going out of town to do their shopping, while attracting out of towners to Palm Springs. He sees the former plan as not feasible in this bad economic climate, as the proposed condos would not be able to finance the project sufficiently.
The sitting mayor agrees this is the most beneficial plan thus far and is glad to see a responsible and creative re-use of the land. The mayor believes having a high quality project in the Palm Springs downtown mall area can only help the city and will please the citizens of Palm Springs. The new plan calls for 340,000 square feet of retail space mostly with frontage along Palm Canyon Road and the developer says there is already interest from many retailers after having been reviewed at the International Council of Shopping Centers Convention in San Diego.