Archive for the ‘Palm Springs Development’ Category

Palm Springs Approves Plans for $80 Million Hotel/Retail Project

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Is this the return of Port Lawrence? At last night’s city council meeting plans were approved for the construction of an $80 Million hotel and mixed retail project on the corner of Alejo Road and North Palm Canyon. This was once the site of the ambitious Port Lawrence project which succumbed to the most recent recession.

Palm Springs Real Estate

The original Port Lawrence design included 118 residences but no hotel project.

In a report in today’s Desert Sun, developer Lawrence Rael states that the project is a honeycomb of retail, commercial, parking and 150-room hotel plugged into a four-story complex with a maximum height of 51 feet. Real stated in that article that the hotel’s brand will be announced in a week or two and that construction could begin as soon as October or November. “The brand is fully involved in the design and the changes,” said Rael in the Desert Sun article.

The original plans revealed back in 2007 included 118 residences in a three story modern building. Those plans included retail usage as well but no hotel. There were six distinct residence styles planned: Studio Lofts, Studio/Den Lofts, Live/Work Lofts, Duplex Loft Homes, Grand Gallery Lofts, and Penthouses.   Prices advertised at the time ranged from $600,000 – $2,000,000. Current plans do not include downtown residences.

The Paul Kaplan Group is a boutique real estate firm specializing in luxury modern and architectural homes, vacation properties, and condos in the Palm Springs, California, area.

We’ve seen the future of Palm Springs and there will be donuts

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

paul kaplan palm springs modern real estate

In the fourth annual growth report just released by QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) Magazine, Palm Springs has surged to the top of the list for small markets. According to an article in QSR’s most recent edition, Steve Rafferty, senior director of franchising for Dunkin’ Donuts, is smitten with Palm Springs. In fact, Rafferty is quoted as saying, “We think Palm Springs is an ideal spot to build, as much for its own growth as the fact that it’s a destination for folks in other key California markets, like L.A. and San Diego.”

As our real estate market continues to surge, investors are quickly taking note.  QSR also quotes Samit Varma, CEO of The Pizza Studio, an upstart Los Angeles–based fast casual with more than 125 units in its development pipeline, who says restaurant leaders will find plenty to like about Palm Springs. The area is known to attract high-income earners from Southern California seeking a desert home, as well as tourists seeking the area’s near-constant sunshine.

“In Palm Springs, you’ll find a high-end demographic of people who appreciate quality food,” Varma says, noting that Palm Springs has particular opportunity for nontraditional units in its numerous local resorts and casinos, as well as inside the Palm Springs International Airport.

Our future continues to look delicious. Read more from QSR at

Americans Are On The Move

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Check out this cool infographic about why “Americans Are On The Move” and what they are thinking about the West Coast real estate market.


Courtesy CAR

Palm Springs Budding Signs of New Home Development

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

For the past few years the sounds of new home development in Palm Springs have been silent, the plaques of home builders along the entrance to our desert towns disappeared.  For example,  parking spaces at the South Palm Springs Oceo development remained empty while the Koffi next door was booming.  The Port Lawrence sign disappeared to be replaced with a nicely landscaped parking area.  Escena lots remained virtually vacant with no activity other then golfer and diners enjoying the clubhouse.

Escena Skylar Lane home sold by the Paul Kaplan Group

Escena Skylar Lane home sold by the Paul Kaplan Group

Palm Springs Budding Signs of New Home Development

Over that last months the signs of new home development have been budding: Oceo’s new parking lot looks busy;  residential developers signs, like  Escena’s Alta Verde and Lennar, are popping up on the entrance to town; plans have been approved to start the new downtown development and a final tour of the Fashion Plaza took place this Tuesday before they demolish the building.

Developers have been responding to what they see as pent-up demand in the market by purchasing land and finished lots. While mortgage lending is still tight and appraisals are still low, building homes on finished lots allows the developer to save on upfront costs. Look for homes to be built in phases; developers to specialize in a specific design; certain builders, like Lennar, to include upgraded items in the base price as an enticement and developers to focus on creating an enhanced lifestyle experience, Sol a new project in central Palm Springs will be centered around a communal dog park.

Incredible view from the Escena Wilson Lane home represented by the Paul Kaplan Group

Incredible view from the Escena Wilson Lane home represented by Kris Rain at the Paul Kaplan Group

Mid-Century Modern for New Home Design (more…)

Virgin Airlines to add service to Palm Springs

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Palm Springs is very excited to be so much more accessible to New Yorkers (who are not known for having the nicest Winters of late)!   Virgin Airlines will now be offering service to Palm Springs from New York with a single stop in San Francisco with same-plane-links. This new route will begin December 15.

Palm Springs Art Museum Purchases Historically Important Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan Building in Downtown Palm Springs

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Exciting news for historic preservation in Palm Springs:  The  Palm Springs Art Museum has purchased the former Santa Fe Savings and Loan bank from Wessman Holdings LLC. This international style 1960 building designed by E. Stewart Williams will be the focus of the museum’s architecture and design exhibitions and programs.
(Photo credit:Santa Fe Federal Savings & Loan, 1960, Julius Shulman (1910 – 2009), photographer; E. Stewart Williams (1909-2005), architect, © J. Paul Getty Trust. Used with permission. Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute (2004.R.10)

Here’s a copy of the press release: 

“The structure will be restored to original mid-century design and house the museum’s architecture and design collections and provide future space for exhibitions”

June 24, 2011 (Palm Springs, CA) – The Palm Springs Art Museum announced today that it has purchased the historic 1960 Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan building in Palm Springs from Wessman Holdings LLC. The majority of the initial $2.8 million raised for the project came from the Edwards-Harris Family Trust and Trina Turk and Jonathan Skow and funded the $2.1 million purchase price.Additional amounts raised will be used to fully restore the building to its original mid-century modern design, based on the original E. Stewart Williams architectural working drawings, owned by the museum.In addition, images taken by the famous photographer Julius Shulman of the building (pictured at left) provides further documentation for a complete and accurate restoration.

Both Williams and Shulman are represented on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars on the sidewalk directly in front of this iconic building. Marmol+Radziner Architects of Los Angeles, renowned for their restoration of two of the most significant homes in Palm Springs, the Kaufmann House and the Ship of the Desert, will offer their services pro bono to produce architectural drawings and provide the expertise needed for the restoration.

The building, designed by renowned mid-century modern architect E. Stewart Williams, is located at 300 South Palm Canyon Drive and was originally designed to house the Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan, which utilized the building until 1980. It then became the American Savings Bank and was then purchased by Sandy and John Wessman in 1997, when it briefly housed the offices of the Palm Springs International Film Festival. It later became the corporate offices of Wessman Holdings and Wessman Development and has been vacant for more than a year.  

“We are thrilled to add this architecturally significant building to the museum’s collection,” said Steven Nash, Executive Director of the Palm Springs Art Museum. “This building will be devoted to architecture and design and provide excellent exhibition, program, and archive study space.  The main museum building, also designed by E. Stewart Williams, has long needed additional space to support the growing architecture and design collections and archives.  The addition of this important building will allow the museum to significantly expand our architecture and design programming.”

The building is a classic mid-century international style structure, and a Class I Historic Site. Situated in a prominent downtown location at the southeast corner of Palm Canyon Drive and Baristo Road, it is a glass pavilion with a lower level containing a vault, meeting space, storage space, kitchen, and restrooms with a total of more than 13,000 square feet.  A prime example of mid-century modern design, the building will will also provide a space for educational programming, community projects and provide a retail merchandise area that will supplement the current museum store.

The principal Palm Springs Art Museum building, on Museum Drive, is also a Class I Historic Site and the museum includes another historic structure as a part of its collection, Frey House II, perched on the San Jacinto mountain directly above the museum.  The Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan building joins the Frey House II as a stunning example of mid-century modern architecture in the museum’s permanent collection.

“It is an honor and a privilege to help spearhead such an important expansion of the Palm Springs Art Museum,” said Harold J. Meyerman, Chairman of the museum’s Board of Trustees. “Not only is the building a historic landmark, but its location on Palm Canyon will help raise the visibility of the museum to visitors and residents and will become one of the museum’s most important collection holdings.”

“Adding this historically important building to the museum’s collection reflects the growth of interest in architecture in our community,” said Sidney Williams, former chair of the Palm Springs Historic Site Preservation Board, Curator of Architecture and Design and the museum liaison for the Architecture and Design Council (ADC). “The building’s quality and location in Palm Springs, known worldwide as having one of the largest concentrations of modern architecture in the country, makes this an ideal site for educational programming in architecture and design.  It will also allow the museum to offer architecture and design exhibitions, showcase the numerous important gifts and loans the museum has acquired, and enable the museum to pursue additional gifts.”

Optimistic Economic News for Palm Springs

Sunday, June 5th, 2011

Reported in Today’s Desert Sun: 

Economist: ‘The bloodshed is over’ for Coachella Valley


Expert sees upside momentum for valley growth, job creation

Like the rest of the country, Palm Springs was hit hard by the recession.  However, in today’s local newspaper, The Desert Sun economic quarterly index, reports are out that The Coachella Valley (Palm Springs) economy is in the best shape it’s been since the Great Recession began in late 2007.

What’s fueling the Palm Springs economic recovery? Per the report,

  • Consumer spending is decent and could go up 3% this year. 
  • Tourism has improved.
  • Construction spending, the biggest drag on the desert economy, has risen 16 percentage points since the first quarter. 
  • Those currently employed are more likely to keep their jobs

Although the article points out we’re not in a Boom perieod, the Coachella Valley’s economy improved in the first three months of 2011 — a trend that’s expected to continue. The Desert Sun’s quarterly Economic Index of Leading Indicators has declared an end to the Coachella Valley’s recession later this year.

The real estate market has been showing signs of recovery as well.  Canadian investment, was reported to be brisk. Additionally, retirees, landlords and second-home investors sought out homes, land and new businesses at rock-bottom prices.

Overall, good to see some positive news for Palm Springs!  To read the complete article, please CLICK HERE.

Palm Springs’ Town and Country- help visualize the future

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011


PS ModCom News
Dear Paul,

Our long struggle to save the Town & Country Center continues…but with what appears to be a terrific opportunity to participate in the dialog.
The City of Palm Springs is organizing three Visioning/Design sessions to obtain public input on a conceptual master plan for the Desert Fashion Plaza and Town and Country Center (T&CC).
The first Visioning Session will be this Wednesday, January 26th
Palm Springs Convention Center’s Primrose Room
It is vital that you, the members of the Palm Springs Modern Committee, participate in these Visioning Sessions as a positive, non-adversarial way to share our ideas about the future of the T&CC.  In particular, we can focus on Andreas Road as the most appropriate east-west corridor versus the T&CC.
If you think that you might be able to attend either as a speaker or simply as a member of the audience please reply to this email.  I will contact you about what you might wish to say and share more of our strategy.
Let’s seize this opportunity to participate in the future of our city.
For more information, contact us at:


email: [email protected]
phone: 760.835.5628

PS ModCom Newsletter Footer

This email was sent to [email protected] by [email protected] |  

Palm Springs Modern Committee | PO Box 4738 | Palm Springs | CA | 92263

What does Gen-Y look for in a home??

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Ran across this post today from the Wall Street Journal-  here’s some interesting information on what the next generation is looking for in housing: (Wonder what Gen-Y is looking for in a 2nd home in Palm Springs? This would explain newer developements in town with small foot prints, and postage stamps yards for easy maintenance)

No McMansions for Millennials

By S. Mitra Kalita and Robbie Whelan,
Jan 14, 2011
Provided by:

Here’s what Generation Y doesn’t want: formal living rooms, soaker bathtubs, dependence on a car.

In other words, they don’t want their parents’ homes.

Much of this week’s National Association of Home Builders conference has dwelled on the housing needs of an aging baby boomer population. But their children actually represent an even larger demographic. An estimated 80 million people comprise the category known as “Gen Y,” youth born roughly between 1980 and the early 2000s. The boomers, meanwhile, boast 76 million.

Gen Y housing preferences are the subject of at least two panels at this week’s convention. A key finding: They want to walk everywhere. Surveys show that 13% carpool to work, while 7% walk, said Melina Duggal, a principal with Orlando-based real estate adviser RCLCO. A whopping 88% want to be in an urban setting, but since cities themselves can be so expensive, places with shopping, dining and transit such as Bethesda and Arlington in the Washington suburbs will do just fine.

“One-third are willing to pay for the ability to walk,” Ms. Duggal said. “They don’t want to be in a cookie-cutter type of development. …The suburbs will need to evolve to be attractive to Gen Y.”

Outdoor space is important-but please, just a place to put the grill and have some friends over. Lawn-mowing not desired. Amenities such as fitness centers, game rooms and party rooms are important (“Is the room big enough to host a baby shower?” a millennial might think). “Outdoor fire pits,” suggested Tony Weremeichik of Canin Associates, an architecture firm in Orlando. “Consider designing outdoor spaces as if they were living rooms.”

Smaller rooms and fewer cavernous hallways to get everywhere, a bigger shower stall and skip the tub, he said. Oh, but don’t forget space in front of the television for the Wii, and space to eat meals while glued to the tube, because dinner parties and families gathered around the table are so last-Gen. And maybe a little nook in the laundry room for Rover’s bed?

In his presentation, KTGY Group residential designer David Senden showed slide after slide of dwellings that looked like a cross between a hotel lobby and the set of “Melrose Place.”

He christened the subset of the generation delaying marriage and family as “dawdlers.”

“A house in the suburbs is not for them,” Mr. Senden said. “At least not yet.”

Places to congregate are more important than a big apartment, he cautioned. He showed one layout of a studio apartment-350 square feet, as big as Mom and Dad’s Great Room. Common space has migrated to “club rooms,” he said, where Gen-Y residents can host meals and hang out before heading to a common movie-screening room or rooftop swimming pool that they share with the building’s other tenants.

The Great Recession and its effects on young people’s wages will affect how much home they can buy or rent for years to come.

“Not too many college grads can afford a lot of space in the city,” he said. “Think lots of amenities with little tiny units-and a lot of them to keep (fees) down. …The things these places are doing is constantly coordinating activities. The residents get to know each other and it makes for a much livelier and friendlier environment.”

Help for Palm Springs’ Historic Preservation

Monday, January 3rd, 2011
Its refreshing news to read about someone dedicated to preserving historic buildings here in Palm Springs.  The following article was featured in The Desert Sun today and gives hope for our Palm Springs preservation efforts-  Thank you Mark!
Giving new life to old buildings
MIKE PERRAULT • The Desert Sun • January 2,
Mark Spohn hopes to foster new attitudes about old

The longtime commercial real estate broker, who
moved to Palm Springs five years ago, recently
decided to put his skills to work doing what he
could to help save historic commercial architecture
in Palm Springs.

Spohn speaks to preservation organizations and
others across the city about his initiative called “Old
Buildings, New Attitudes.”

“The greenest building is the one that is already
built,” said Spohn, vice president of Sperry Van
Ness Commercial Real Estate Advisors.

Spohn has more than 30 years of experience leasing
and selling office and retail properties, including
more than two decades in Los Angeles.

He was a regular visitor to Palm Springs all those
years, developing an appreciation for the city’s
architecture. That prompted him to do what he
could to preserve Palm Springs’ commercial

“I am making it my goal to find investors to
rehabilitate (historic buildings),” Spohn said.

“There is a need to be proactive in adaptive reuse of
historic buildings by encouraging private

Spohn sees it as not only preservation but an
economic development issue. In PowerPoint
presentations, Spohn rattles off a list of historic
development projects: the Riviera, Colony Palms and
Horizon hotels; The Willows; the Seeburg and
Gallery buildings.

An ongoing renovation of the 58-room, 71-year-
old Spanish Inn at 640 N. Indian Canyon Drive in
recent months aims to preserve the former
Ambassador Hotel, once a getaway for Hollywood
icons such as Lana Turner and mogul Howard
Hughes, Spohn said.

Palm Springs City Manager David Ready said the city
supports “the renovation, the new attitude, the
remodel” concept.

“The big impediment has been, ‘Does (the project)
pencil out?’ Are the numbers there for the developer
to make a profit?” Ready said.

To help encourage renovation of commercial
properties such as boutique hotels, city officials in
May expanded a hotel incentive program. It rewards
developers who complete major remodels by giving
them a hefty rebate on the bed tax.

Timely program
Robert Imber, a board member of the Palm Springs
Modern Committee and trustee for the California
Preservation Foundation, said there is an abundance
of Palm Springs historic architectural assets in need
of rehabilitation, so Spohn’s program is timely and
beneficial for the region.

“In Palm Springs, other than the preservation
organizations and a few specific projects in recent
years, I am not aware of anyone other than Mr.
Spohn forwarding such practical and efficient
strategies that combine restoration and development
at commercial properties,” Imber said.

What’s noteworthy about Spohn’s approach is that it
presents properties as intrinsically valuable because
of their historical character, said Ron Marshall,
president of the Palm Springs Preservation

Many preservationists have been concerned that
some developers have been more concerned with
“real estate speculation” than making a building
viable, which can be detrimental to the long-term
health of the city, Marshall said.

Many folks think historic preservation is some
arcane science, he said.

“Nothing could be farther from the truth,” Marshall
said. “The U.S. Secretary of Interior has established
simple, straightforward standards that local
governments are encouraged to follow for the
treatment of historic properties.”

Among projects the Foundation has been working
on is ensuring “sensitive restoration” of the 71-
year-old Welwood Murray Memorial Library, a city-
owned property in downtown Palm Springs.

A survey the city conducted shows there are more
than 100 historic commercial buildings. Their
architectural styles range from mid-century modern
to Spanish colonial revival.

Among architects who have created commercial
buildings are Albert Frey, E. Stewart Williams,
Richard Neutra, William Cody and Paul Williams.

Typical prices for such properties range from about
$3 million to $10 million, Spohn said.

Many office, retail, boutique hotel and special-
purpose buildings — while they are in need of
repair — are well-built structures in prime
locations, Spohn said.

Spohn emphasized that historic development
projects must be as economically feasible as any
others. If done right, they will benefit the community
by retaining the architectural charm and character
that distinguishes Palm Springs from other desert
resorts, Spohn said.

One project Spohn is working on is to draw a
Liberace Museum that closed in Las Vegas to Palm
Springs, where the entertainer had numerous

Spohn said investors willing to renovate commercial
properties often have emotional ties to the city or
area architecture.

Other developers see an opportunity to tap financial
incentives, including a federal historic tax credit

that pays for up to 20 percent of rehabilitation

Public-private partnerships also can help
developers garner grants for façade improvements
or take part in hotel tax abatement programs.

Some historic properties to watch in the future
include La Serena Villas bungalow court, Town and
Country Center historic courtyard, and the Harlow
Club hotel in the Las Palmas historic commercial
district, Spohn said.

The modern real estate group is an  avid supporter of Palm Springs’ Historic Preservation efforts.
For more information please visit the

Palm Springs Preservation Foundation.