City moving ahead to demolish one of four abandoned hotel projects

Palm Springs officials are moving ahead with plans to demolish at least one stalled hotel project. The City Council is expected to approve seeking bids for the demolition work tonight at its regular meeting.

Plans for the Tova Hotel and Beach Club project, at 1875 N. Palm Canyon Dr., were first announced in 2016, showing a modern, 104-room hotel with “lushly furnished rooms and suites, many with dramatic mountain views” replacing the defunct Garden Vista Hotel. Instead, according to a city staff report, “the property and the remaining deconstructed buildings have remained partially demolished and in a state of blight causing a public nuisance since 2017.”

The project is one of four in the city that are stalled and in similar states of partial construction. Each project – The Andaz Palm Springs at 400 N. Palm Canyon Drive, The Dream Hotel at 450 N. Calle Alvarado, The Orchid Tree Inn at 261 Belardo Road, and the Tova project – has been delayed for different reasons, none related to COVID-19. Earlier this year, City Attorney Jeff Ballinger was instructed to move ahead with legal action aimed at forcing the projects to resume.

Previous efforts by the city at the Tova project site included a notice of violation issued to the property owner in July 2020, giving 60 days to start moving the project forward. The 60 days came and went with no action. Subsequently, the property owner filed bankruptcy, and the appointed trustee asked for a delay in any city action. That request was denied by a judge on May 11, giving the city the go-ahead to order demolition.

City staff estimate the demolition will cost $280,000. Those funds would need to come out of the city’s general fund. The vote this evening is to authorize seeking bids for that work.

Other items on the City Council agenda (available here) this evening include:

  • A public hearing on increased fees for some city businesses, including a 900% hike in the annual license fee for retail cannabis businesses. That issue was reported in The Post earlier this week
  • Consideration of a vote to allow VillageFest to begin again on July 1
  • Approval of all-way stops at the intersections of Matthew Drive and South Linden Way, and Cherokee Way and Santa Monica Street
  • Approval for some retail cannabis businesses to have their products visible from outside the businesses, among other related issues
  • Review of the city’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year and five-year capital improvement plan to run from 2022-2026

During a closed session earlier in the afternoon, where city staff and elected officials discuss matters related to ongoing litigation, the Council will discuss two matters of interest to the public:

  • Russell Manning vs. City of Palm Springs, a civil case first filed in 2017 against the city, the police department, and an officer
  • Committee to Relocate Marilyn v. City of Palm Springs, et al., which involves placement of a 26-foot-tall statue of actress Marilyn Monroe on Museum Way. That ongoing dispute has been covered by The Post most recently here

TO PARTICIPATE: Residents who wish to speak at the Council meeting may call the Office of the City Clerk prior to the meeting no later than 5 PM. The phone number is 760-323-8204. At the appropriate time, a staff member will call members of the public to provide testimony. Written comments may also be submitted to the City Council by emailing [email protected]  The public can view the meeting online here, on the city’s YouTube channel, or on Palm  Springs Community Television Channel 17.  

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