|By Kimberly Pierceall, The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jul. 26, 2005 - After the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians finishes a new hotel near their Agua Caliente Casino off Interstate 10 and a residential development in downtown Palm Springs, the tribe might release a wrecking ball on its original Palm Springs hotel and spa.
"It's going to come down," said Tom Davis, referring to the landmark Palm Springs hotel. "Something is going to happen there."
Plans to demolish the 228-room Spa Hotel at 100 North Indian Canyon are still in the early stages, said Davis, the tribe's chief planning officer.
Davis said the tribe does not have any specific plans for a new hotel, but told a group of local Building Industry Association members at a monthly luncheon that "it will be something rather dynamic."
The property is zoned for a 100-foot high-rise hotel with 43 rooms per acre.
Ernest Noia, a developer and local lawyer who specializes in American Indian-owned land, said the current hotel is five stories. The 100-foot designation could allow for eight stories.
"I've always known that they would tear that hotel down," said Noia. "It's just that they wanted the casino in first," he added.
The tribe's new casino opened in late 2003.
Before plans are filed with Palm Springs and the hotel razed, the tribe will likely conduct a study to determine if the demolition would affect the natural mineral water underground that is used at the hotel's spa.
That study, Davis said, could take 2 1/2 years. Then it will take additional time working with the city to minimize construction-related issues.
"The city would certainly work cooperatively with the tribe," said David Ready, Palm Springs' city manager.
Prior to building a new Palm Springs hotel, Davis said the tribe is focusing on two upcoming projects -- its 14-to 16-story hotel that could have as many as 400 rooms adjacent to the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage.
Construction on the Agua Caliente hotel expansion should start this winter, Davis said.
The tribe is also planning its first residential development, which will consist of 104 condominiums at the northeast corner of Calle El Segundo and Ramon Road. Dubbed Village Traditions, the condominium project is also slated for construction soon.
"We hope this sets the tone for many more to come," Davis said.
A possible EIGHT-story hotel could replace the venerable 228-room spa hotel.
SOURCE: The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
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