Focus is a curious thing. What we focus on largely determines what we see(1). Some focus on the negative, while many more focus on the positive. Thankfully, focus is a choice. As we look back on 2021, we see a vibrant community that, while impacted by COVID-19, has not only survived but is thriving. From an economic development standpoint, Cathedral City’s Planning, Engineering, and Economic Development Departments have facilitated an incredible amount of development over the last years.
From a residential standpoint, DR Horton’s Retreat at Verano new home community is nearly sold out. What started as 319 vacant lots leftover from the 2008 market crash now proudly display homes ranging from almost $400,000 to $600,000. The 144 vacant residential lots within the beautiful Campanile project will be coming back to life thanks to a high-end private homebuilder. Construction in Campanile should begin in 2023. Infill residential lots scattered throughout the City are getting built out at a historic pace. Residential construction has been so robust, in 2021, we are on track to issue between 6% (compared with 2019) to 41% (compared with 2011) more building permits. Not only are the number of building permits up, but the total valuation per permit is also the second-highest on record and 81% higher than 2011 values.
From a commercial standpoint, Cathedral City is experiencing remarkable growth and new investment. One of the more notable projects was the former Sam’s Club building renovation located at Date Palm Drive and Converse. This 116,000 square foot property sat vacant for nearly 16 years. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the City Manager, Economic Development, Planning, Engineering, Fire, and Police Departments, over $40 million has been invested into the property. The Amazon building now offers 152 year-round jobs, positions that provide upward economic mobility, 100% tuition reimbursement, medical insurance, and 401k. Special thanks are owed to the 35 individuals who attended our Planning Commission meeting and voiced their support of this $40 million investment. This project will bring nearly $10 million of annual economic benefit to our community. The Amazon building is not the only commercial success within the City. There are new restaurants, new cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities, even some new retail in the works.
So as each year comes to a close, I enjoy focusing on what has gone right, reflecting on and creating a plan to change the things that did not go so well, and showing appreciation for those who make our lives and communities a better place. While the list of stakeholders who work tirelessly to improve our community is long, thank you to our City Council, City commission and task force members, Cathedral City Senior Center and the Cathedral City Boy’s and Girl’s Club executive staff, Board members, and volunteers, Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, the Cathedral City Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Department Volunteers Terry Applegate and Sue Townsley, and the City staff within the Police, Fire, Public Works, Finance, Engineering, and Planning Departments. Thanks to the care, commitment, and often thankless work this team of volunteers, paid and unpaid professionals contribute each year, our community continues to be a wonderful place to live our best life.
To stay on top of Economic Development activities, please bookmark www.ccedd.org for information on economic development activities within Cathedral City. You can hasten our City’s and our businesses’ economic recovery by shopping local. Check out our website, Cathedral City Shop Local, to find categories and lists of all the companies within Cathedral City which need your support. Shopping at our businesses will help keep our retailers thriving and keep your tax dollars within the City. These tax dollars fund critical services such as our Police, Fire Department, and road maintenance. There is no better testimonial for attracting new businesses than to ensure our existing businesses are prosperous.
Lastly, your efforts to keep your properties clean, weed and debris-free are paying off. Property appearance is an important “selling point” when prospective homebuyers, business owners, and developers look for a “perfect” location. Everyone is a part of Cathedral City’s long-term success, and you are making an impact!