A Fresh Beginning: A look into new business in Palm Springs

Many new businesses set to open soon

A look into new business in downtown Palm Springs

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.- - Work continues to open new businesses in downtown Palm Springs following December's grand openings of the new Kimpton the Rowan Hotel and Starbucks.

Shoppers are already enjoying the new H&M clothing and fashion, MAC cosmetics stores open, also a new Kiehl's offering high-end skin, hair, scrubs, face masks and moisturizers.

In a rare interview opportunity, Developer Michael Braun took News Channel 3 on a tour of the project he leads, and gave us an update on the downtown development's 'fresh beginning.'

"We have not made the decision as a company yet, which tenants we'll give the last spaces," said Braun. "It's very important to get the right mix here." 

Braun is the President of Grit Development, formerly Wessman Development and was happy to show off a new collection of approximately 20 stores, restaurants, and other businesses coming soon to downtown Palm Springs.

A clothing and gift boutique, Blond, is set to open in two weeks. Braun says a new Tommy Bahamas will likely open here by April, with a new concept-- geared to a younger generation. 

The developer also says the entire concept of a shopping center has changed. It's no longer just about buying things. It's about a mixture of restaurants and retail experiences people can enjoy.

"It's called the Merlin Bar. So it's not going to be a similar concept like in Palm Desert," said Braun adding, "It's going to be a little more casual which meets the lifestyle in Palm Springs." 

Braun says the project is 95-percent leased out, with only a few open storefronts remaining. 

The developer also says the entire concept of a shopping center has changed. It's no longer just about buying things. It's about a mixture of restaurants and retail experiences people can enjoy.

"The idea of you come downtown to shop and buy something is obsolete. This has to become an experience because you can buy anything these stores are opening online and potentially cheaper," said Braun. 

To dictate a premium, Braun says you need to be creating an experience people enjoy, where they can be socially active with other people. "People need to shop," said Braun adding, "It needs to be a combination of the internet and brick and mortar."

Angeli is set to open later this month with imported leather goods and shoes from Italy.

"People go into Angeli to buy clothes, then 'let's have a coffee, or a drink, or eat something.' That's why have to place tenants strategically so they leverage and benefit each other."

And upstairs will be leased apartments. Three are planned for the second story above Angeli and Haus of Poké. 13 more could go in upstairs on the block north along Palm Canyon Drive. And 70 more may be built in a building west of the Kimpton if the concept is popular.

Johnny Was and Francesca's will both offer women's clothing, and Braun says they plan to open before Coachella.

A national chain, Kiehl's, is already open and selling skincare, hair, and body care products.

Also coming soon include Full Cycle offering spinning classes, a small restaurant or bistro perhaps a wine bar, Haus of Poké which will be a restaurant serving raw fish salads, Stout Burgers & Beers with other locations in Hollywood, Santa Monica and Studio City.

And the Coachella Valley's second Il Corso set to serve authentic Italian dishes opening within two months.

Braun even says a new art sculpture will be Instagram-worthy because it will be visible from one angle, but not visible from a different angle. 


Braun says his goal is to integrate this project with the rest of the town, be good neighbors, and help the entire downtown area thrive.

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