Preservationists Upset Over Demolition of Spa Hotel

Spa Demo (1)

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Demolition of the historic Spa Hotel in downtown Palm Springs is underway. Many are seeing it as progress, however, others are outraged saying the long-time hotel is an architectual gem.
"Yeah there it goes," said Chris Menrad, President of the Palm Springs Modern Committee, "It's just... with every crashing sound it's gut wrenching," he said.

It was a heart-breaking site for Menrad Wednesday morning as he watched one of the valley's most important landmarks become rubble.

"I want to cry. I mean, there have been people here that have been literally in tears and it's just so sad, it such an important building," Menrad said.

He's part of a group of preservationists, upset the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians didn't save the hotel, rather than completely tear it down.

"We presented them with a very detailed plan about how this could be saved, about how they could actually benefit from some tax credits by doing a historic renovation... and we've had no communication with them whatsoever," Menra said, "We're here to basically watch this come down," he said.

The tribe didn't speak to the media Wednesday about the start of the demolition, but in a statement - Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe said.
"We are in the planning stages of creating a vision for this key location in downtown Palm springs." "Our next steps include demolition of existing structures as well as taking the necessary steps to protect and preserve the hot mineral spring."

The demolition of the hotel is expected to take quite some time, it won't be completed until sometime in the summer of 2015. As far as a concept for the new hotel that will go up, the tribe's spokesperson told CBS Local 2/KESQ News Channel 3, the tribe has yet to begin that part of their project.

Across the street from the Spa Resort Hotel, Sam Harris, owner of Sherman's Deli and Bakery, says he's also sad to see the hotel go. However, from a business standpoint, it means losing customers, many of them guests from the hotel.

"Oh yeah, that's 225 rooms or so. Those are customers we're not going to get, they're not going to be there, they're going to be elsewhere," Harris said.

He realizes construction of a new hotel will take some time, but he's staying optimistic.

"We have to deal with it and we'll have to find other avenues of business," Harris said, "You can't think of the negative, we have to look at the positive and that's the main thing is the positive," he said.
The tribe says it plans to recycle 85% of the building's materials for reuse.

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