PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - KESQ and CBS Local 2 have confirmed the Spa Resort's hotel in downtown Palm Springs is closing on July 8. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians made the announcement after notifying staff late Tuesday afternoon.
The tribe says the Spa Resort Hotel and Spa & Fitness Center are closing, but the casino will remain open and improvements will be made both inside and out. It's still tough news for some locals. "It's been here forever and you know they've been great to our community," said Paul Mediano, the vice president of the Main Street Merchant's Association. "It's certainly going to be a loss for our community."
About 150 team members will be affected by the closure, officials said in a statement on Tuesday.
"We are working with our team members to provide resources through this transition," said CJ Graham, Chief Operating Officer. He said that includes assisting in identifying new employment with other nearby resorts or identifying other opportunities within the organization.
According to the Tribe's statement, July 8 will mark the end of one era, but it will also bring about an exciting new venture for downtown Palm Springs. Specifics of the new venture haven't been released.
"We are reviewing concepts and considering our options to identify the necessary steps to preserve this key landmark in downtown and rejuvenate the property around it," Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe said. "It's the place where it all began - the site of our natural hot mineral spring. And, for which our Tribe and the City of Palm Springs were named. It has been more than 50 years since we've made significant investments in and around this valued cultural resource. They are long overdue. And, the time is now."
The Tribe plans to continue investing in its downtown locations and make the site a major anchor for the future of Palm Springs. Officials said with the local economy showing signs of recovery, the Tribe is confident that this location will continue to be a cornerstone for Palm Springs visitors for decades to come.
For Mayor Steve Pougnet, this announcement continues the shift of positive momentum for the whole area. "It's exciting you know," said Pougnet. "We have hundreds of millions of dollars being spent in downtown Palm Springs and every metric that you see is up considerably."
While it's not clear when or what might take the place of the Spa Resort Hotel, many seem confident the tribe will deliver something bigger and better. "They have to have something spectacular on their minds to come back with," said Mediano.