PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

On Wednesday morning, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians began demolition of the Spa Hotel, Spa, Fitness Center and Canyon Conference Center in downtown Palm Springs.

The Tribe is investing in its downtown locations and preparing the site, now known as 'Vision Agua Caliente', to become a major anchor for Palm Springs, officials said.

The resort is located at the corner of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Indian Canyon Drive. The hotel closed July 8, but the casino will remain open, with improvements being made to both the inside and out. 

The closure marked the end of an era, but Tribe officials said the closure will bring about an exciting new venture for the downtown area. 

"We are in the planning stages of creating a vision for this key location in downtown Palm Springs," Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe said. "Our next steps include demolition of existing structures as well as taking the necessary steps to protect and preserve the hot mineral spring."

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.

Demolition is expected to last several months and be complete by summer 2015. The Tribe said its goal is to recycle 85% of the building materials for reuse.

"We are working to make a positive, lasting difference in our community and having an aggressive recycling program during demolition sets the path for others to follow," Chairman Grubbe said.

According to the Tribe's release, the project review and approval process is as stringent as the federal process. But, because the demolition takes place on Tribal trust land, it is a tribal action, not a federal or state undertaking, and therefore it isn't subject to the National Environmental Policy Act or the California Environmental Quality Act.

More information about Vision Agua Caliente