Rancho Mirage, CALIF. - The Rancho Mirage City Council moved Thursday to add 193 valuable acres to the city near the new Bob Hope Interchange.
The council voted to annex the land north of Ramon Road, across the street from the Agua Caliente Casino, Resort, Spa.
Mayor Dana Hobart hopes the developer will construct hotels and stores to attract commuters driving down Interstate 10, heading toward Los Angeles or Phoenix.
"It's not so much people coming to the Coachella Valley but people traveling across the country," Hobart said.
"We live off bed tax and sales tax so it's extremely important to the city."
Hobart is talking about the kind of traveler who used to stop at Victor Khori's Shell Gas Station on Ramon Road and Varner in Thousand Palms before the new interchange shifted the exit -- and his customers -- further down on Varner.
"I've had to fire seven employees and I'm constantly working now," Khori said.
When the Ramon Road exit was shut down, Khori said it killed his business. He used to sell an average of 180,000 gallons of gas a month; he said business is down to 40,000 now.
"There's nothing wrong with development," Khori said. "I'm one-hundred percent for it."
"I just don't understand -- why can't we have two exits?"