Dream Hotel project inches forward after Planning Commission split decision

Neighbors of the adjacent Center Court condominiums are anxious to see the project complete but are opposed to the construction of the additional condominiums at the height proposed by the developer.
Residents of the Center Court Condominiums (top right) are in favor of the Dream Hotel (the shell of which can be seen here), but voiced opposition to additional condominiums on the property that would be built at a height that could obstruct their views.

Neighbors hoping for relief from the city’s Planning Commission Wednesday evening instead got a lesson in real estate: The only way to have the final say in what happens on land adjacent to your home is to own the land.

Driving the news: In a 3-2 vote, the Palm Springs Planning Commission approved a request to allow additional condominiums at the site of a major hotel project under construction since 2015. Developers have maintained that condominiums are a crucial part of financing the Dream Hotel planned for the intersection of Avenida Caballeros and Amado Road, across from the Convention Center.

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Catch up: The project has been working through City Hall for over a decade. Plans have shifted from a 200-unit hotel with 143 condominiums in 2007 to 156 hotel rooms and 40 condos in 2019. Some construction started then, but it languished until this summer.

  • The project’s developers now want to build more than two dozen additional condos, saying the sales of those units are necessary to fund the entire project, given that hotel financing is tough to secure.

At issue: Neighbors of the adjacent Center Court condominiums are anxious to see the project complete but are opposed to the construction of the additional condominiums at the height proposed by the developer. Wednesday evening, they continued that opposition during the Planning Commission’s regular meeting, saying slight moderations to the design made by the developer would do little to save their views.

  • “This will be like a Volkswagen Beetle parked next to a Norwegian Cruise Liner,” said Center Court resident Thomas Boudrot.

Yes, but: Commissioner Lauri Aylaian was sympathetic to the residents’ plight but pointed out that the developer was proposing to build well within the limits of the city’s development guidelines.

  • “If you want to control what is developed on a piece of property, you need to own that piece of property,” Aylaian said before casting a yes vote. “For the neighborhood to develop expectations that the developer would acquiesce to all their concerns is naïve.”

Bottom line: “We can address this all day long, but we do believe we’ve created angle views in a way that doesn’t just tower above them,” said developer Lauri Kibby, responding to the concerns.

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