PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - After years of waiting, a community in south Palm Springs is finally seeing progress. Two dirt lots have been vacant on south Palm Canyon drive and Mesquite avenue for several years. Vacant while other areas in the city continue to see construction and new development. "This is the disconnect," said John Raymond, the director of community and economic development for the city. "You've got about a quarter mile of vacant land on both sides."
On the east side of Palm Canyon, an 11-acre lot that was approved to become "The Cameron," made up of 80 condominiums, 22 live-work units about 20,000 square feet of retail. But, the plan never got off the ground. "Every year our hopes are dashed because they kept on saying they couldn't get the funding because of the recession," said Paul Crippan, a member of the Tahquitz River Estates Neighborhood Organization (TRENO).
TRENo helped the city put the plan together the first time around. He's thrilled to hear Del Mar-based developer Davidson Communities bought the land and the entitlement this year and hopes to break ground before 2014 is over. On the west side, another 11-acre lot which has gone through several ownership changes since 1999. "It's been for sale for 8 or 9 years through the recession," said Raymond. "It finally did sell through the developer this year, which is really exciting."
Raymond says he thinks the new developer will build something similar to "The Cameron." Both the city and the neighborhood group hope movement in the area will help deal with some ongoing issues. Neighbors say the vacant lots and the closed Rock Garden Bar and Grill have become popular spots for vandalism and the homeless community. "You start to see that area get occupied," said Raymond. "Some of those problems become much less significant as that moves forward."
There's no timeline on the lot next to the Rock Garden. Crippan says both developments are long overdue and hopes it will connect south Palm Springs to the rest of the city. "I would like to see something that's really going to increase the neighborhood and improve the quality of life here, in TRENO and in Palm Springs," said Crippan.