Orchid Tree Resort developer wins appeal, granted additional extension to break ground

While the developer had requested two additional years to break ground, city staff recommended just one. That year was approved as part of the appeal.
The Orchid Tree Resort and Spa, as envisioned by its developer.

Another extension for breaking ground on a long-delayed development in the heart of Downtown Palm Springs was allowed Thursday evening, with the developer promising he’s dead set on seeing it through.

Background: In July, members of the city’s Planning Commission unanimously denied a request by Richard Weintraub for more time to start construction on the planned Orchid Tree Resort and Spa, designed for 3.6 acres off West Baristo Road. They went as far as to recommend the city take the project into receivership.

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  • The property — plagued by vandalism, trespassing, and multiple fires in decaying buildings — has been a neighborhood nuisance for decades.

  • The project has been working through City Hall since 2015 — a delay that has frustrated area residents and the elected and appointed officials who have granted extensions before.
The developer of a hotel project at the site of the former Orchid Tree Inn has worked to alleviate many concerns about the property, but has yet to officially break ground.

The news: Weintraub appealed the Planning Commission’s decision to the City Council and got a chance to plead his case Thursday evening. He won the appeal 5-0 after pointing out that, to date, he had met every deadline imposed by the city after receiving the latest extension last November.

  • “I could give you a long litany of answers,” Weintraub replied when asked why the project had faced so many delays, “but I can tell you I hold this project extremely near and dear to my heart.”

Next up: While the developer had requested two additional years to break ground, city staff recommended just one. That year was approved as part of the appeal, giving him until May 2023.

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