Palm Desert Boutique Hotel Stirring Debate

For now, it's a large empty patch of land. However, if things go according to plan, that is about to change dramatically -- with the Rosewood Hotel.

"A five-star hotel, about 90 hotel rooms and 60 residences. 20,000 square foot spa, and fitness center. Five to ten thousand square foot meeting space for events. Two to three different restaurants, bars, lounges. Supposed to be a very high end experience," project manager Matt Joblon said.

Developers own the land behind El Paseo and have approval to build the hotel. There's more to the Rosewood's vision than that, though.

"The concept of the hotel is to have Frontage Road coming down to the shops on El Paseo," El Paseo shops general manager Fred Fern said. "It'll bring the customers, the ladies I'll say it, right down there."

The developer has rights to Frontage Road, but needs additional approval that the California Street and Highway Code requires. They cannot finance the hotel without this approval, which opponents aren't giving over easily. One reason -- the hotel would stand 60 feet tall, towering well over homes lining the land.

"Of course it's going to block their view. I'm a proponent of keeping our mountains pristine," Palm Desert Council Member Cindy Finerty said. "You go higher and higher and pretty soon we're going to look like every other city, and that's not the Palm Desert I moved here for."

However, supporters say the good outweighs any bad.

"If you think of Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, the Beverly Wilshire right there, that whole relationship...we see that exactly right here for the desert," Joblon said. "It comes down to $2 million a year in city tax revenue, 300 permanent jobs in the hotel."

News Channel 3 went to the homes lining the hotel land on Ocotillo to ask resident for ourselves: Would Rosewood be an obstructive pile of bricks or the city's next social and economic lifeline?

"As long as it brings more revenue to the city and as long as it's not too obnoxious looking, I'm fine with it," Palm Desert resident Tom Stickney said.

"We've lived across this lot, this sandy dirty lot with all the noise from 74 ever since time began almost. The noise will be abated, there won't be the dust," Palm Desert resident Nancy Byles said. "There's mountains everywhere. You look up, you look down you look behind, there's mountains everywhere. The benefits far outweigh giving up a little bit of view for progress."

The city council voted two to two, and without one council member, the decision will be pushed back to the next city council meeting in two weeks.

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