The Road Ahead for the Desert Fashion Plaza
PALM SPRINGS - The demolition is underway at Desert Fashion Plaza in downtown Palm Springs.
The long-awaited project kicked off with a party Thursday.
Expect to hear the sounds of heavy machinery tearing buildings down for some time in downtown Palm Springs.
The old Desert Fashion Plaza will be reduced to rubble to make way for the new downtown cityscape.
"I think if they renew everything down here it will get a lot more people in the area, they will spend more money of course and it would help our city a lot," said Palm Springs resident, Renee Gonzales.
But not everyone is sure about the difference it will make.
"I actually look forward to this mall being gone, but I think when they rebuild it, it's just going to be empty buildings, I think they need to do more in terms of getting tourism down here and I think they probably have too many buildings as it is right now," said Palm Springs resident, Mark Massar.
Developer John Wessman says they are working on getting big name stores for the new mall.
"On the corner they're going to see a really nice plaza and its going to be activated with restaurants and retail and we would love to see an Apple store sitting right there, so that's the kind of tenants we're going to be going after, and hopefully we will get them," said Wessman.
In just a month the Old Bank of America will no longer be standing. The rest of the buildings at the Desert Fashion Plaza will be demolished in about a year.
"12 to 18 months before we demo the rest of it, and start building so at the start of 2014 we're having another big celebration down here," said Palm Springs mayor, Steve Pougnet.
Part of the project is funded by 43 million dollars of taxpayer money.
"43 million in tax, its going to be be great for the companies that come in here to have that much of a boost, that would be incredible for a business to have that much backing from the government," said part-time Palm Springs resident, Buzz Summers.
Summers is enjoying Villagefest, but says downtown could use the boost.
"I've really enjoyed the streetfair, this has been great and new buildings on the street would be even better," said Summers.
But first the old buildings must go, to make way for the new.