Records: Palm Springs businesses got Valley’s largest share of federal aid

Records from the Small Business Administration released Friday show The Colony Palms Hotel and Bungalows received roughly $4.6 million in grant money from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The North Indian Canyon Drive business was the largest single recipient of those funds in the Coachella Valley.

Restaurants, bars and other businesses in Palm Springs that serve food and beverages received more than $26 million from a Small Business Administration (SBA) program designed to offset losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, records released Friday show.

The records were made public after a restaurant advocacy group, the Independent Restaurant Coalition, announced that it filed a Freedom of Information Act request in June demanding that the SBA provide more information about how the $28.6 billion in Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) grants were awarded.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 created the fund to help restaurants and other businesses serving food and drinks recover from financial losses during the pandemic. Many were shuttered for months due to regulations ending indoor dining.  Businesses that received funds must use them for specific expenses, including, but not limited to, payroll costs, rent, debt service, utilities, and construction of outdoor seating.

The SBA said it provided grants of up to $10 million each to 105,000 restaurant operators before the program’s funds were depleted after only three weeks. Another 265,000 applicants were left out. The fund will officially close after its website is disabled on Wednesday.

The RRF program was not without controversy. Multiple lawsuits were filed earlier this year by white, male restaurant owners claiming discrimination because the program prioritized helping businesses owned by women, veterans and minorities in the first 21 days it was open. Eventually, a court ruled that the prioritization was unconstitutional and the SBA halted payments to 2,965 previously approved RRF grant applicants.

In Palm Springs, where more than a quarter of all workers are employed in leisure and hospitality, records show 45 businesses received $26,595,840 from the fund — more than double the amount received by businesses in any other city in the Coachella Valley. Grant amounts were determined by subtracting 2020 gross receipts from 2019 monthly average gross receipts multiplied by 12, and then subtracting any Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans received.

The largest recipient of RRF funds in Palm Springs was The Colony Palms Hotel and Bungalows at 572 N. Indian Canyon Dr. Records show it was awarded nearly $4.6 million under the program. The hotel’s “Colony Club” restaurant seats roughly 90 people. The next largest grant in Palm Springs — $2.5 million — went Las Casuelas, which has two restaurants on Palm Canyon Drive seating more than 400 people combined. Billy Reed’s, at 1800 N. Palm Canyon Dr., received $1.8 million. It seats 340.

Ownership of Colony Palms changed hands last year when Steve Hermann, who also owns L’Horizon Hotel and Spa in the city, purchased the business, formed Colony Palms LLC, and undertook a multimillion-dollar renovation. Its ground lease, but not the actual property, was listed for sale in 2017.

Records show the Colony Palms grant was also the largest single grant in the entire Coachella Valley under the SBA program. Combined, more than 150 businesses in the Valley offering food and beverages were awarded almost $60 million. The next largest grant was in Indian Wells, where The Nest received almost $2.8 million.

The RRF funds followed more than $90 million in PPP loans that were provided to Palm Springs businesses in 2020. Backing of those loans was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). More than 1,100 businesses in the city with a total of 10,200 employees received PPP funds. The largest loan here was to Desert AIDS Project (now known and DAP Health). Records show it received $2.7 million to help 168 employees.

Across the Coachella Valley, records show a total of $469 million in PPP loans, some of which were forgivable, went to nearly 6,000 businesses with a total of 3,600 employees. The largest PPP loan in the Valley — $5.2 million — was given to 29 Palms Casino in Coachella to assist 500 employees.

More information: A searchable database of RRF grant recipients is available online here. A searchable database of fulfilled PPP loans can be found here. A searchable database of every company approved for a PPP loan, whether or not they took the loans, can be found here.

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BRIEFLY

ASSAULT INVESTIGATION: Palm Springs police are looking for help in identifying a suspect in an alleged assault and battery that occurred outside a bar early the morning of July 9, leaving the victim in critical condition. According to a police report, officers were dispatched to the 400 block of East Arenas Rd. at about 1:40 AM after reports that the victim and a friend were involved in a physical confrontation after words were exchanged with the suspect, who began to chase the victim. While running away, the victim slipped and struck his head on the ground. The subject chasing the victim left the area. The victim was transported to a local area hospital and was last reported in critical condition. “We have seen social media rumors indicating this incident was a targeted hate crime,” police said. “At this time, there is no reported information or evidence to suggest a hate crime occurred.” The suspect is described as a black male adult, approximately 5’8” tall, wearing a light blue button up shirt, and white shorts,. He was last seen in a black convertible. Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call police at 760-327-1441. You can also report information anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 760-341-7867.

FITNESS GRADUATES: Pole Fitness Discovery, 611 S. Palm Canyon Dr., held its first graduation Sunday, as family and friends came together for a final performance by each of the participants in an inaugural eight-week workshop. Rajashree Choudhury, a yogi who taught several meditation sessions during the workshop, presented graduation certificates to participants, along with Annmarie Lynn, owner of Hot Yoga Plus Palm Springs. A new Pole Fitness Discovery session will begin July 25. The workshop is limited to only 10 people, who will meet on Sundays from 2 PM until 5 PM. Applications are available here.

THIS WEEK’S EVENTS

TODAY

MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers four events, beginning at 8 AM. For a complete list of offerings for everyone in the community, turn here.

READING, CRAFTS PROGRAMS: Multiple reading and crafts programs are underway in the city, and most have a presence on YouTube starting at 10 AM:

  • Information about “Read-To-Me Story Time and Craft” for preschool and kindergarten students can be found here.
  • Information about the adult summer reading program and craft projects (this week’s project is “Tote Bag Dot Painting”) can be found here.
  • Information about a children’s summer reading program and craft projects (this week’s project is “Puffy Paint Ice Cream Cone”) can be found here.
  • Information about a teen summer reading program and crafts projects (this week’s project is “Perler Bead Bowls”) can be found here.

HUMAN RIGHTS: The city’s Human Rights Commission meets virtually at 5:30 PM. More information about that meeting, including a complete agenda, can be found here.

TUESDAY

MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers 10 events, beginning at  8 AM. For a complete list of today’s offerings for everyone in the community, turn here.

WORKSHOP: The City of Palm Springs Planning Department hosts a second community workshop to discuss the ongoing update of the city’s General Plan from 5:30 PM until 7 PM at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, in room Primrose B.  or more information about the General Plan update, or to register for the workshop, visit this site.

ONE-PS: The monthly membership meeting of Organized Neighborhoods of Palm Springs (ONE-PS) takes place from 5:30 PM until 7 PM. All materials for that meeting are located here.

POWER BASEBALL: The Palm Springs Power plays at Palm Springs Stadium, 1901 E. Baristo Rd. First pitch is at 7:05 PM. A complete schedule is available here.

WEDNESDAY

MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers 10 events, beginning at  8 AM. For a complete list of today’s offerings for everyone in the community, turn here.

PLANNING COMMISSION: The Palm Springs Planning Commission meets at 5:30 PM. More information about that meeting can be found here.

POWER BASEBALL: The Palm Springs Power plays at Palm Springs Stadium, 1901 E. Baristo Rd. First pitch is at 7:05 PM. A complete schedule is available here.

THURSDAY

MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers 10 events, beginning at  8 AM. For a complete list of offerings for everyone in the community, turn here.

WATER AGENCY: The Desert Water Agency Executive Committee meets at 8 AM. More information about that meeting can be found here.

FOOD AVAILABLE: FIND Food Bank distributes food in the city today at two locations. A mobile market will be set up at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 North Avenida Caballeros, from 4 PM until 6 PM. Food is also available at the community food bank, 610 S. Belardo Road, between 5 PM and 7 PM. That location is open every Thursday. A complete calendar of food distribution in the community is available here.

FREE MUSEUM ADMISSION: The Palm Springs Art Museum offers free admission from 5 PM to 7 PM. Tickets are required and can be obtained here.

THEATER PERFORMANCE: Palm Canyon Theatre, 538 North Palm Canyon Drive, is performing You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at 7 PM. Tickets are $32-$36. Student tickets are available for $15 with a valid ID. All tickets may be purchased through the Box Office, by calling 760-323-5123, or by ordering online at PalmCanyonTheatre.net.

BOOK INTRO: Barbara DeMarco-Barrett and contributors Janet Fitch, Tod Goldberg, Alex Espinoza, and Michael Craft present Palm Springs Noir, a collection of short stories set in Palm Springs and the surrounding area, in a conversation moderated by Corey Roskin, at 7 PM. Tickets to the virtual events can be found here. The book may be ordered here.

VILLAGEFEST: The city’s weekly pedestrian street fair takes place at 7 PM on Palm Canyon Drive between Amado Road and Tahquitz Canyon. The event includes vendor booths on both sides of the street, which is closed to vehicular traffic.

FRIDAY

MIZELL EVENTS: The Mizell Center, 480 S. Sunrise Way, offers 10 events, beginning at  8 AM. For a complete list of offerings for everyone in the community, turn here.

POWER BASEBALL: The Palm Springs Power plays at Palm Springs Stadium, 1901 E. Baristo Rd. First pitch is at 7:05 PM. A complete schedule is available here.

THEATER PERFORMANCE: Palm Canyon Theatre, 538 North Palm Canyon Drive, is performing You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown at 8 PM. Tickets are $32-$36. Student tickets are available for $15 with a valid ID. All tickets may be purchased through the Box Office, by calling 760-323-5123, or by ordering online at PalmCanyonTheatre.net.


COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Want to know what’s happening in your city and at agencies that make decisions affecting your neighborhood? The following links should help:

City of Palm Springs calendar of events

Palm Springs Library calendar of events

Palm Springs Unified School District calendar

Mizell Center calendar of events

Desert Water Agency calendar

ONE-PS calendar of events

Police reports | Submit a police report

Code compliance reports | Report a code violation

Current road projects and closures

Currently active development projects

FIND Food Bank mobile market schedule

Palm Springs Disposal pickup schedule

Palm Springs Power baseball team schedule

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