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March 17, 2016

Community Update by  Curt Watts

Economic Development Director

As Cathedral City’s new Economic Development Director, I’m excited to have recently joined the ranks of City employees dedicated to serving the residents and businesses of Cathedral City.  My addition to the team is a literal doubling of the City’s staff focused on economic development as I join long-time City Economic Development Manager Leisa Lukes in reinforcing the City’s commitment to attract, retain and expand large and small businesses in our community.

Success in the area of economic development is often measured, not only by the physical sight of a new commercial building, or the ribbon cutting for a new business, but also by an increase and broadening of the City’s annual revenues from transient occupancy (i.e. hotel), sales and property taxes.  This is certainly important as increased tax revenues help fund essential City services including police and fire protection, street maintenance, graffiti removal, etc.

Providing new and exciting hotels, retail storefronts and service establishments helps meet the needs and wants of an expanding and diversified local population.  These businesses enhance the “livability” of our City and offer employment opportunities for our residents.  Often they serve as a great motivator for residents from other cities, as well as visitors to the Coachella Valley as a whole, to discover what Cathedral City has to offer. 

Our strategic West Valley location between Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage provides a strong foundation upon which to build our future economic development strategy.  I should know, as I’ve had over 12 years combined prior experience both strategizing and implementing economic development and redevelopment projects within those two adjacent cities.

It’s certainly an exciting time to be involved in Cathedral City’s economic development which is focused on several areas of the City including Downtown, our major commercial corridors & shopping centers, and the City’s expansion north of the I-10.  Be on the lookout for some significant future announcements as past and current efforts begin to bear fruit - and as new ideas spring forth from the combined energy and talents of motivated property owners, business operators, your elected officials and the City’s professional staff bringing it all together for the benefit of our community.

If you didn’t have a chance to attend the recent State of the City Luncheon sponsored by our local Chamber of Commerce, or to read about some of the projects addressed during that event, here’s a quick sampling of some economic development highlights:

• Doubletree by Hilton Hotel – The $12 million renovation and rebranding of the 289-room former Desert Princess Golf Resort hotel (at the corner of Vista Chino and Landau) has been completed.  It you haven’t seen the inside of this 4-Star rated facility and its fantastic golf course views, it’s definitely worth stopping by for a visit.

• Best Western Plus Hotel - Initial development steps are underway for a 91-room hotel in the northwest quadrant of the I-10/Bob Hope intersection - our first significant development north of the I-10.  This project has completed its initial design review and will be joined by several freeway-adjacent fast food options.  Additional mixed-use projects extending to the west of the hotel are also on the drawing board.

• Staybridge Suites Hotel - Construction is proceeding well on this 200-room hotel near the Cimarron Golf Resort.  Studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites will cater to extended-stay travelers who will certainly enjoy the property’s panoramic mountain views.

• Downtown - Many of the vacant properties in the vicinity of City Hall and the Mary Pickford movie theatre downtown were previously acquired by the City’s former Redevelopment Agency prior to the State’s 2011 elimination of redevelopment agencies statewide.  Of course, the Great Recession which pre-dated that State action certainly didn’t help prior efforts to move forward with downtown revitalization projects.  Other downtown vacant land parcels and/or underutilized buildings are under separate ownerships.  While this situation offers great opportunities, it also presents challenges, when trying to attract new business developments.  Nonetheless, planning for a new hotel on the south side of E. Palm Canyon at Date Palm and other significant projects are progressing.  You’ll be hearing more about these projects as they unfold.

• Commercial Corridors & Shopping Centers - Whether it’s upgraded showrooms in the Cathedral City Auto Center, interesting additions (including art galleries) in the Perez Road Business District, or expanding & promoting shopping bargains along the City’s “Cent$ationalMile” on East Palm Canyon, many large and small businesses find Cathedral City to be a welcoming place to do business.  Sleep Train is one of the newest additions to town as construction of its new showroom on the western end of the City on East Palm Canyon is nearing completion.  Just a little further east, the relocated Angel View Resale Store has opened at 67625 E. Palm Canyon Drive and at the Cathedral Gateway Plaza (Big Lots Center) at E. Palm Canyon & Date Palm Pizzeria Bambino’s will open in the very near future.  Also relocating and opening soon is Aaron’s, which will open its new stand-alone location on the north side of Date Palm Drive between McCallum Way and 30th.

All Cathedral City residents can help accelerate our economic development efforts by making a commitment to “buy local” whenever possible and encouraging out-of-town guests to stay in one of our several hotels.  It just makes economic “cents” for you to keep your tax dollars within the City and help fund local community services and programs.  And there’s no better testimonial for attracting future new businesses than to make sure that our existing businesses are prosperous examples for other potentially interested enterprises to follow.

Also, making a special effort to properly maintain your own properties (whether residential or commercial) shows pride in the community.  This is another important “selling point” when prospective businesses, commercial real estate agents and developers tour our City scouting out future business opportunities.

Please share with your friends and contacts the City’s dedicated website www.DiscoverCathedralCity.com which highlights many of our community attributes.  As a team, we can all play a part in the long-term success of the place in which we live, work, play and stay! 

Upcoming Events

Throwback Thursdays with Jersey Shore

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Back by popular demand, "Throwback Thursdays with Jersey Shore" returns for a 10-week run of shows starting January 21, 2016. If you haven't  attended the show before it's all about audience participation that makes TBT with Jersey Shore – the best camp in the Coachella Valley.   The show starts at 7:00 pm at the Desert Cinemas UltraMAX Theatre in …

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Cathedral City Celebrates Diversity during the 2nd Annual LGBT Days

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The 2nd Annual Cathedral City LGBT Days, presented by the Cathedral City Auto Center, celebrates the lives, history, and wonderful accomplishments the community has contributed in making Cathedral City one of the “most livable” cities in America and a testament to its perfect equality score by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The festival provides an opportunity to recognize the strength …

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Identity Theft Shred Event

Identity Theft Shred Event

To help STOP identity theft and as a service to its residents, the City of Cathedral City is hosting FREE Document Shredding Events. The Shredding Events are the first Saturday of the month October thru May each year (except January 2016).  Arrive early – once the shredding truck is filled to capacity the event will end.   For more information, …

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City Hall at Your Corner

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Are you wanting to speak to your city councilmembers or learn more about what is happening in Cathedral City? Then join us for "City Hall at Your Corner" hosted by two member of the City Council.     "City Hall at Your Corner" is scheduled once a month through June 7th at various locations throughout the City and at different times …

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Movies in the Park

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C.O.D. Street Fair in Downtown Cathedral City

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West Valley Wednesdays! The College of the Desert Alumni Association brings its popular Street Fair to Downtown Cathedral City on the 1st Wednesday of each month from 4 pm to 8 pm. The C.O.D. Street Fair has operated on the weekends for decades at the main campus of College of the Desert in Palm Desert.  Now, Street Fair is offering …

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Cathedral City Cove Art Party for Children & Elders

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Children's Art Party for children and elders. The SCRAP Gallery and the Agnes Pelton Society hosts the Children and Elders monthly Art Party at the Cathedral Center, 37-171 W. Buddy Rogers Ave., on the Second Saturday of each month from 1-3 PM.   Admission is free. Participants create art pieces made of recyclable materials and also meet and work with …

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Passport to Health: Health Fair and Glo Run / Walk

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