Revenues, business are up in La Quinta officials say during Spring Business Update


New stores and restaurants have opened, new homes are being built and La Quinta has weathered the economic storm brought on by the pandemic.

Those were among the messages delivered Wednesday night by La Quinta’s mayor and council members during a modified state of the city address, held outdoors with dinner at SilverRock Park. A concert by the local band, The Refills, closed out the event.

The 90-plus degree temperature did not keep more than 100 people from attending La Quinta’s “Spring Business Update,” co-hosted by the city and Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The council’s 40-minute presentation covered the city’s fiscal outlook, economic development, and updates on new and ongoing projects including housing development.

La Quinta mayor Linda Evans embraces La Quinta business owner Michael Shovlin while presenting him with an award during a business update at SilverRock Park in La Quinta, Calif., Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

La Quinta mayor Linda Evans embraces La Quinta business owner Michael Shovlin while presenting him with an award during a business update at SilverRock Park in La Quinta, Calif., Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

Fiscal outlook

The council adopted the 2021-22 budget in June, projecting a surplus of about $6.5 million with general fund revenues estimated at $65 million and expenditures of $58.8 million.

The city reports increases in its top three revenue sources: property taxes which are estimated at $9.3 million; transient occupancy taxes from hotels and short-term vacation rentals at $11.8 million; and projected sales tax revenue of $11.3 million.

The city also projects $13.5 million in Measure G revenue this fiscal year, Mayor Linda Evans said. Measure G is the initiative approved by the city’s voters in 2016, raising the sales tax one percentage point to 8.75%.

“Thank you, La Quinta residents … for passing Measure G,” Evans said.

The city also has a little more than $47 million in reserve funds.

The healthy reserves allow the city to take a proactive approach to paying down its $10 million in unfunded pension liability, Evans said, with an expectation that it will be paid off by 2025.

The Highway 111 retail corridor, which accounts for about 75% of the city’s revenues, has a vacancy rate of less than 7%, Evans said.

“So, when you hear oh, we have so many closed businesses, we really don’t in La Quinta. Seven percent vacancy rate is next to nothing,” Evans said.

Capital improvement projects

Local business leaders and citizens sit for a presentation from the City of La Quinta and the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce during a business update at SilverRock Park in La Quinta, Calif., Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

Local business leaders and citizens sit for a presentation from the City of La Quinta and the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce during a business update at SilverRock Park in La Quinta, Calif., Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

The city has several capital improvement projects underway or on the horizon, Councilmember Robert Radi said.

Among them are the city’s vision for Highway 111 improvements that would bring more retailtainment to the corridor.

“That is a long-term project and progress is being made … with eye level collaboration with all the stakeholders,” Radi said.

The city is in the early planning stages of a cultural campus on Avenida Montezuma that would include the museum, the old lumber yard building recently bought by the city and another vacant parcel already owned by the city.

Fritz Burns Park improvements are on the horizon, along with the long-awaited Dune Palms bridge to be built over the wash, Radi said.

The bridge is estimated to cost $24.2 million – about $17.65 million to be paid through a state grant – and the amended agreement brings CVAG’s total share of local costs to about $7.26 million. The state funds were to have come with construction, but will now come after construction is completed, and the city is using reserves to get it built.

“We are advancing the money through … our reserves, to design and build a bridge and then we will get money back as soon as Caltrans decides,” Radi said.

“These projects are all in need of money. That’s why revenues are important to the city and … need to be protected,” Radi said.

A public safety camera system installed at intersections, parks and other public locations throughout the city will be expanded to include the recently completed X Park, the Cove Oasis and trailhead parking lots, and Velasco and Colima parks.

Automatic license plate reading cameras, which other cities in the valley have installed, are also coming to La Quinta’s entrance and exit points and can help with locating stolen vehicles, Radi said.

New homes under construction

New homes are going up around the city with 352 active construction sites, Councilmember John Pena said.

So far this year, the city has received 104 applications for building permits compared to 33 in 2021, zero in 2020 and 16 in 2019, Pena said.

Carmela, Coral Mountain, Andalusia, PGA West, Tradition, Hideaway, Madison Club and Rancho Santana are among the communities where additional housing units are being added, he said.

Planned new developments include Centre at La Quinta which will include 131 dwelling units for rent; Palo Verde with 24 dwellings; Piazza Serena with 46 homes and Diamante which will have 54 new homes, Pena said.

Commercial development

The city has seen an increase in building inspection and plan submittals over the last two years, Councilmember Steve Sanchez said.

In 2021, the city received 3,110 applications – a 45% increase over 2020, he said.

The city issued 2,399 permits last year, an increase of 33% from 2020, Sanchez said.

During the last year, the city has seen several new businesses open including Grocery Outlet in La Quinta Village shopping center, Nothing Bundt Cakes next to the movie theater, Café California in Old Town La Quinta, Nativa Silver & Crystals in the Vons shopping center, Los Arcos Mexican cuisine in La Quinta Village center, Happy Tea Café next to Pokehana on Highway 111, Arroyo’s Café in Old Town, Sato’s Snacks on the northwest corner of Highway 111 and Dune Palms, Lifestream at Washington Park center and Extra Space Storage next to Floor and Décor.

Talus update

Mayor Pro Tem Kathleen Fitzpatrick provided an update on the construction of the long-awaited Talus golf and spa resort – formerly known as SilverRock Golf Resort – situated across the road from the park where Wednesday night’s event was held.

The resort will be home to Montage and Pendry luxury hotels, residential units, a spa, existing golf course and new clubhouse.

The foundations and structural steel installations are complete for the Montage hotel – slated to open in 2023 – and spa buildings where framing is in progress. Roof sheathing is also in progress at the spa, Fitzpatrick said.

Foundations have been completed on one-third of the Montage residences with framing completed on three model homes.

The Refills, a Coachella Valley band, perform after a business update hosted by the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce and the City of La Quinta at SilverRock Park in La Quinta, Calif., Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

The Refills, a Coachella Valley band, perform after a business update hosted by the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce and the City of La Quinta at SilverRock Park in La Quinta, Calif., Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

The foundations have also been poured and structural steel erected for the Montage and Pendry shared services building and conference rooms, and framing is well underway, Fitzpatrick said.

The golf clubhouse framing is also complete with interior electrical and plumbing underway, and the roofing completed, Fitzpatrick said.

The clubhouse is expected to be open by the end of this year, she said.

The Village parking

A lifelong Coachella Valley native first elected to the La Quinta council in 1982, Pena said when he moved to La Quinta, the Village consisted of a Circle K which is now the Sandbar, a pharmacy that is now a meat market and El Ranchito on Calle Estado.

“There wasn’t much else down here,” Pena said. “As a matter of fact, Washington Street was a two-lane road and there was a stop sign at Avenue 52.”

Today, the Village includes numerous shops and restaurants, and Old Town.

“So, we’ve come a long way,” Pena said, and with that has come an increased need for more parking.

The city has begun looking at options – additional lots or the possibility of a parking structure, he said.

“We are trying to make sure our parking needs keep up with our business needs,” Pena said.

Honoring a longtime businessman, developer

Evans kicked off the council’s 40-minute presentation by handing out the first Legacy Award to Michael Shovlin, a longtime businessman and developer who has been in La Quinta since before the city’s incorporation 40 years ago.

Shovlin “has spent the last 50 years in the Coachella Valley and has many, many business accomplishments. He’s an owner. A developer of not only hotels, shopping centers … and various real estate development, his company is also directly responsible for over 25 commercial projects and the development and construction of 323 affordable housing units in the City of La Quinta,” Evans said.

His developments and companies include Washington Plaza, One Eleven La Quinta, Washington Adams and Santa Rosa Development.

“His work began in the City of La Quinta long before we were incorporated … and we thank him wholeheartedly for his work here,” Evans said.

Shovlin accepted the award, but opted not to speak.

Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas covers the cities of La Quinta, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. She can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @TDSsherryBarkas

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: La Quinta officials report revenues, business are up



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