Visitors to Palm Springs will soon have a new place to shop when they get tired of all that poolside lounging. A major overhaul of the long-shuttered Desert Fashion Plaza proposed by developer John Wessman, who has owned the site since 2002, was approved at the end of last month. The new version of the shopping center will replace "most of the downtown mall with three new city blocks that would include retail, restaurants, office space, new city streets and a six-story boutique hotel," according to the Desert Sun. The approval was conditional on a few changes to the plans, including providing better shade for pedestrians and tweaks to the hotel. Councilmember Rick Hutcheson said "I want to go to this hotel and say 'wow,'" which the current design does not apparently inspire him to do.
The new Desert Fashion Plaza is expected to be a tourist draw (because they don't have malls where people come from?). Still, says Scott White, president and CEO of the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau: "we know the modern traveler is looking for this type of product." Most people who spoke at the city council meeting were in favor of the project, but those against it didn't like the height of the hotel (89 feet) and thought the design was out of character with the rest of downtown Palm Springs. $43 million has been set aside from a new sales tax increase to fund the development.
· Palm Springs OKs remake of the Desert Fashion Plaza [Desert Sun]