‘Aggressively ugly’: Outgoing Palm Springs Planning Commission members pan Miralon condo project

The developer will have ample opportunity to change the designs before the project returns for a formal review and vote at a future date.
A 242-unit condominium project planned for the Miralon development, seen here in this rendering, received some harsh criticism Wednesday evening.

Members of the Palm Springs Planning Commission got their first look at a proposed 242-unit condominium project for Phase 2 of the Miralon development in northern Palm Springs Wednesday evening. Though no action was taken at the meeting, commissioners had strong opinions on the preliminary designs of the condos. 

What happened: All five commissioners present agreed with the feedback from the urban design staff review. The staff review recommended more differentiation in elevation and accent materials, an enhancement of the visual appeal of the perimeter units, and for the patios to have more shade. 

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Zoom in: Several commissioners had major issues with the project, including Commissioner Michael Hirschbein. Wednesday’s meeting was Hirschbein’s last — his term expires June 30 — and he took the opportunity to lament the future of architectural design if projects like the one begin reviewed by the commission become the norm.

  • “The problem is the individual buildings are just aggressively ugly,” said Hirschbein. He went so far as to say that the Miralon design and others like it will “lead to the demise of the profession” because artificial intelligence can create a much better design. “It’s just embarrassing how bad it looks,” he concluded. 

  • The other outgoing commissioner, Peter Moruzzi, agreed with Hirschbein, saying, “These are just unadorned boxes of varying levels.”
A rendering of the interior corridors of the condominium project at Miralon, a planned development with more than 1,000 housing units.

Worth noting: The other commissioners didn’t have quite so strong of words for the project but found other flaws, including a lack of outdoor space, shade, and openness. 

Details: The project site sits on about 18 acres of land bordered by Presley Drive to the north, Holden Drive to the east and Palladium Boulevard to the south. The duplexes will be two stories tall with a maximum height of 24 feet and range from 999 square feet to 1,472 square feet in size.

  • There are three different unit types: one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts. Each unit will have a private patio and an attached two-car garage. 

What to watch: No action was taken at the meeting, designed only as a study session to review initial plans. The developer will have ample opportunity to change the designs before the project returns to the Planning Commission for a formal review at a future date.


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