DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. -

Tahiti Partners Property Corporation teamed up with Desert Hot Springs city leaders to break ground on the new Pierson Plaza, a $17 million project.

The 70,000-square-foot plaza will include office, retail, commercial space and a 38,000-square-foot county public services building by spring 2015. The current Cathedral City office only has 12 employees.
    
"The county office building will house 125 employees, and over 200 guests a day," said project developer Geoffrey Payne.

Anna Martinez, assistant director of the Riverside County Public Social Services said the office will come in time to help implement the Affordable Care Act and Medi-Cal expansion.

"There are many families that find it challenging to go to Cathedral City to obtain services. The beauty of this is services will be more accessible in their own community," said Martinez.

The city and project developer hope that with the plaza across the street from Desert Hot Springs High School, the Boys & Girls Club and down the road from City Hall, it will draw in students and families.

"If history repeats itself, kids will flock to the nearest place and this is the nearest place. We're also hoping to attract a family restaurant that is well-needed in this area," said Payne.

Mayor Yvonne Parks expects the plaza will give the city's 25,000 residents an opportunity to keep sales taxes revenue on their side of the freeway.

"We need to bring additional shopping opportunities to our residents, so they don't have to cross the freeway to shop. We lose $2 million a year in sales tax spent by our residents in stores on the other side of the freeway," said Parks.