Soho House plans on Colony 29 property receive initial warm welcome at City Hall, public meeting

Following up on a recent site visit to the property, developers of the project walked members of the Palm Springs Historic Site Preservation Board through their plans this week
A rendering of what parts of a Soho House planned for the Colony 29 property in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood might looks like.

As plans for a Soho House on one of the city’s most historic sites begin solidifying, the public and officials at City Hall are getting their first look. So far, they like what they see.

Driving the news: Following up on a recent site visit to the Colony 29 property, developers of the project walked members of the Palm Springs Historic Site Preservation Board (HSPB) through their plans this week. 

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  • “It’s a complicated project, and it’s touching some of the most incredible historic resources in the city,” said Ken Lyon, the city’s historic preservation officer.

What they’re saying: During a regular meeting of the HSPB Wednesday evening, representatives of Membership Collective Group drew praise for their intention to keep the integrity of the historic buildings on the property intact during their rehabilitation. They were also complimented on plans to develop adjacent new structures that will fit seamlessly into the environment.

  • “This is a game-changer for Palm Springs, and I think it’s a game-changer for downtown,” said Patrick Jordan, principal at Patrick Stewart Properties, during public testimony at the HSPB meeting. “It’s not very often you have somebody come in with this level of sophistication.”

Looking back: The seven-acre enclave was initially developed between 1926 and 1929 as an informal artists’ retreat by Chicago banker John Hudson Burnham. It currently consists of six homes on a hillside off South Tahquitz Drive in the Historic Tennis Club neighborhood. There is also an undeveloped plot of land just east of the original buildings.

Going forward: One of the homes was not part of the original colony. Plans call for it to be expanded and attached to a new entry building and gatehouse. A “modern-day swim club” is planned for the empty lot, while the original buildings will be renovated and become nine hotel rooms.

  • The property is currently designated a Class 3 historic property, but the developers said Wednesday they intend to seek Class 1 designation.

But wait: Chances are most of us will never visit the finished product. Soho House is notorious for its selective club membership policy. A committee composed of club members decides who is and isn’t granted access to more than two dozen clubs worldwide.

Next steps: Wednesday’s meeting was an informal study session for Board members. A similar study session is planned with members of the Palm Springs Planning Commission in the coming weeks. Complete review and votes by multiple boards and commissions, as well as the City Council, will follow. Developers hope to open doors in 2024

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