A proposed sports and entertainment arena slated to be constructed near Palm Desert is expected to bring nearly $32 million to the Coachella Valley annually, along with $200 million during construction, according to projections released Monday by the project sponsor.
Oak View Group plans to build the 300,000-square-foot arena on a roughly 43-acre site between Interstate 10 and the Classic Club golf course in unincorporated Riverside County. The company paid for an economic impact study regarding the $277 million project.
The arena, which will be constructed using private financing, is expected to be completed by the end of next year, the company said.
Approximately 1,400 temporary jobs will be created during construction. The company said the tally would likely include at least a portion of the laborers from outside Riverside County. Once completed, 420 full-time workers will be employed at the site.
In tabulating the arena’s annual economic output, which measures the value of all sales of goods and services, Oak View Group included dollars attributed to both what it called “in-arena” spending and related tourist spending.
In-arena spending would derive from sources such as the minor league affiliate of the Seattle Kraken NHL team, which is slated to begin playing at the arena following construction.
Typical tourist spending could include arena-goers gassing up at local gas stations before leaving the areas, or people stopping to shop or eat before events. The arena, as a proposed year-round source of entertainment, could provide this type of spending even during in the hotter off-season months when tourist spending tends to sink.
Between roughly 9,900 and 11,700 seats will be available in the arena depending on the type of event.
Officials are expected to work with Live Nation Entertainment to bring live events including concerts to the venue.
The company also said the arena is set to generate “intangible benefits” for the region. These include increased exposure due to the proposed influx of events, plus the addition of a new community gathering or conference space. The arena could be a “catalyst for economic development,” according to the project sponsor.
In addition, the closure of Desert Ice Castle in Cathedral City last March amid the coronavirus pandemic left the Coachella Valley without a skating rink. The new arena is expected to fill the niche left behind in the figure skating, recreational skating and adult and youth hockey sectors.
Oak View Group announced in September that plans to construct the arena in Palm Springs in partnership with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians had fallen apart. The company then teamed up with the Palm Desert-based H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation, a local nonprofit, which will lease the land to the company in order to build the arena.
Plans to construct the arena in the heart of downtown Palm Springs previously drew community ire.
Last January, a dozen Palm Springs residents calling themselves “Palm Springs Together” mailed letters to state officials pleading for them to get involved in the proposal, arguing the arena builders should be required to draft customary environmental reports.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians is a federally recognized tribe and a sovereign nation with full authority over its land use decisions, meaning it is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act land use requirements.
A report from Palm Springs’ Department of Planning Services noted “the city has no authority to approve or deny projects undertaken by the tribe on its own land.”
The letter came after the city released a report that found the arena would be short 1,600 parking spaces, and that parking meters could be necessary. Parking and congestion issues surrounding the proposal remain unsolved.
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