|By Jonathan Shikes, The Press-Enterprise,
Riverside, Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Dec. 1, 2006 - The tribal owner of the Spa Resort Casino Hotel in Palm Springs plans to tear down its familiar hotel and replace it with one nearly twice as large.
Specifics won't be worked out for some time, but the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians said Thursday it would like to build a 420-room hotel, possibly 100 feet high, with a showroom, a spa and fitness center and a parking structure.
The tribe also plans to add 60,000 square feet to the glitzy Spa Casino, which replaced the tribe's first casino in 2003, about a block away from the hotel.
"We wanted to open the doors up and say this is what we are working on," said tribal spokeswoman Nancy Conrad. The project will take three to five years.
In the meantime, the tribe will study the effect of demolition on the natural mineral water beneath the existing hotel, Conrad said. The tribe bought the 228-room hotel out of foreclosure in 1992 and has renovated it several times.
Over the next month, the tribe will also solicit opinions from the city and the community and evaluate cultural, environmental and historic concerns about the project, as well as comments on public safety, traffic and other issues.
Although the tribe is a sovereign nation, not subject to city rules or code, it plans to work with Palm Springs on the plan, said City Manager David Ready.
"They know what the community standard is," Ready said. The city is looking forward to the hotel and eagerly awaits "the opportunity to weigh in," he added.
Eventually, the tribe plans to develop a "lifestyle entertainment and commercial center" north of the casino with a 120-room boutique hotel and 170,000 square feet for restaurants, nightclubs, theaters and stores.
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