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Residents Wait for Ritz-Carlton to Open

Angela Monroe

Residents Wait for Ritz-Carlton to Open

CREATED Jul. 31, 2013

 A popular luxury hotel is making its return to the Coachella Valley.

The only question is, when?
A KMIR6 viewer asked about the progress of the Ritz Carlton in Rancho Mirage.
We learned there is progress at the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, but the opening date was pushed back again just last week.
It was supposed to open by Halloween, but the city gave the developer an extension from Christmas to next March.
So after seven years of waiting for the vacant hotel to open, people will have to yet again wait a little longer.
Bob Greenbaum is still waiting to see the Ritz-Carlton open in Rancho Mirage.
He lives at the Mirada, across from the vacant giant.
"I've lived in the desert a long time, I need to actually see something happen before I believe it anymore," said Greenbaum.
Rancho Mirage Mayor, Richard Kite, understands that frustration.
"Living up there, they did not expect to live next to a vacant hotel for such a long time," said Mayor Kite.
It has also cost the city about 7 million dollars in tourist tax money they could have collected from the hotel.
Neighbors have worried for years what effect the silent, sleeping resort had on their homes.
"As far as property values, I think we're starting to see things come alive again up at Mirada, and I think we'll see a real major jump once the property does open," said Greenbaum.
The owner developer did secure 60 million dollars to finish this Ritz Carlton project, however when they started work, they found there were a lot more issues that they had to address.
"There's been a lot of damage caused by weather and other issues, so that's why it's taken us longer to get back into operating again," said Mayor Kite.
Mayor Kite says more than 100 workers are at the hotel refurbishing the 244 room resort, and adding 16 spa suites.
The Ritz is starting to hire some of their staff.
"We're anxious to see it get going, we have extended this so many times that everybody just says oh yeah that's not going to open then at all, this time though we think everything's in place to make it work," said Mayor Kite.
It has been a long wait since the hotel closed seven years ago, and residents are itching to see it open once again.
"Maybe this one will hold, I'm glad to see a few people, a few more people up there than I've seen  in the last couple of months anyway," said Greenbaum.
The developer has another incentive -- since January they have been putting 25,000 dollars a month into a maintenance fund for the city.
If they finish in time, they will get some of that back.