December 12th, 2011 5:18 AM by Cat Moe
Downtown Port Lawrence mixed use condominium and commercial retail project alive again !!
As I do most Monday mornings, I was browsing the internet this morning to see if there was any interesting news worth sharing with you all. This past weekend I was showing property to clients in various parts of the coachella valley...from Desert Hot Springs to Palm Desert....and I couldn't help but notice the various new construction developments that were poppint up in several locations. WHAT??? New construction??? While I had been aware of a few new developments that were starting to frame, I wasn't aware that thoser were slowly not extremely isolated incidences anymore, and it was a clear sign that Real Estate is on its way back. So...this morning I found this article online that I've been wanting to share, as it deals with a very popular downtown location that up to now has served mainly as a parking lot for several years.
PALM SPRINGS — Port Lawrence, the long-awaited development at the corner of Alejo Road and North Palm Canyon Drive, “is very much a live and well,” said developer Lawrence Rael.
The dirt lot now popularly used for public parking during busy weekends in downtown Palm Springs will be the home of a boutique hotel and new retail, according to Rael.
While he declined to go into specifics, he alluded to good news coming soon for his mixed-use project.
Originally approved in 2006 as a condominium and commercial retail project, the City Council unanimously approved Rael's request to modify the project to better reflect the market.
“Mr. Rael has hung in there,” Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet said during the Sept. 7 council meeting. “Throughout this country, there are developers who have walked away many many times from projects and have left cities hanging, and the one thing Mr. Rael has continuously done is get creative and hung in there.”
Now Port Lawrence promises to provide 175 hotel rooms and more than 30,000 square feet in commercial retail.
He added his team is currently in the design development process and expects to go back for city review starting early next year.
“We're extremely excited about this project,” Rael said.
Considered a failed project by some residents, Port Lawrence is back on the move toward fruition, officials said.
“The timing in the economy required us to sit back and wait for the right time to bring this project forward again, and the right time is now,” Rael said.
With the recent passage of Measure J, the ballot measure that will raise the city's sales tax to 8.75 percent in April to generate $200 million over 25 years to help jump-start the revitalization of the defunct Desert Fashion Plaza, city officials and mall developer John Wessman agree that Port Lawrence will gain by the positive momentum in the city.
“We're creating an atmosphere where there's more sales tax, more business and more people are benefiting,” Wessman said of the passage of Measure J, adding that the trickle down effect will help Port Lawrence flourish in the future.
Rael congratulated the city for the milestone but emphasized that Port Lawrence “is not predicated on Measure J.”
“This is a perfect time to plan this project,” Pougnet said. “It's going to impact everybody and increase our economic development.”