Ted Weill Newsletter

Greetings Constituents and Neighbors,

As I said I would when elected last April, I consider it important to keep you current on activities in our City. We live in an unparalleled city and I know most of our residents do enjoy receiving bits of new information from time to time. (Additional information is always available by going to www.TedWeill.com and/or by subscribing to my email list. And, as many of you know, I am always available by telephone.

The financial condition of the City is exceptionally strong. We operate on a fiscally conservative basis, always seeking ways to reduce expense and increase our revenues - the majority of which is derived from sales tax and transient occupancy tax (bed tax).

The General Fund has an approximate balance of $72 million consisting of $25 million for a prudent reserve, $15 million for disaster recovery and the balance in capital projects and economic development.

The amount of building activity within the city has increased significantly as the national economy has improved. In 2013 there were 1,052 building permits with a projected total valuation of $40,581,579 in fees to the city. In 2014, the number of permits was 1,578 with a total projected valuation of $65,267,451 in fees to the city. A few of the highlights include the following:

Rancho Las Palmas Shopping Center

The Paragon Commercial Group closed escrow in March 2014. Construction is now well under way. The first new building will be CVS Pharmacy at the corner of Bob Hope and Highway 111. It will feature a 24 hour drive-through pharmacy. Upon completion, the existing CVS building will be replaced by a new structure occupied by Hobby Lobby.

On February 25th, Paragon announced that 83% of the available spaces have been leased. "After years of less than 50% occupancy at the center this is great news for our residents and the city", stated Council Member Ted Weill.

The former Von's Market will be occupied by Stein Mart and after interior remodeling will open late this summer. At approximately the same time, a 12,000 sq. ft. Greens International Market Inc family owned grocery store will open. There are numerous other leases pending that the developer will be announcing shortly.

New ingress/egress to the property will be available from Highway 111, creating a view corridor to the lower portion of the Center. In addition, both a right and left turn will be possible when exciting the Shopping Center on Bob Hope.

Rancho Las Palmas Artist Rendering

Project Timeline:

  • January 2015: Demolition of the former Library / Chamber of commerce building, the former Chili's building and the vacant multi-tenant building is completed.

  • March/April 2015: Construction of the new CVS building begins, tenant improvements and fa├žade treatments throughout the center begins.

  • Summer 2015: Offsite improvements commence, including the new right-in / right-out on Highway 111, tenant improvements for inline shops underway, leasing efforts continue.

  • Fall 2015: New CVS and Stein Mart stores open, construction on the future Hobby Lobby space begins

  • Spring/Summer 2016: All anchor stores open for business

The River Shopping Center

The River Shopping Center was sold during 2014 and new ownership has a marketing plan to reinvigorate the Center and fill the spaces. A new restaurant, BB's at The River was announced this week. It will take over the space previously occupied by Aqua Pazza.

BBs at the River

Thunderbird Resort and Spa

The applicant has submitted a Preliminary Development Plan for the construction of a 258,000 sq. ft. development situated on 23 acres next to the Cancer Survivors Park adjacent to City Hall between Frank Sinatra and Mirage Cove. It will consist of one and two-story buildings, spa, fitness center, and restaurant.

Rancho Mirage Community Park Expansion
(formerly Whitewater Park)

Whitewater Park Ampitheater

Construction has started and is scheduled for completion in the Fall of 2016. A 600 seat amphitheatre will be available for concerts and other forms of entertainment. There will also be a children's playground area, pickle ball courts in additions to the tennis courts, exercise stations, promenade, and new parking area. The Rancho Mirage Art Affaire, one of the highlights of the season, will inaugurate the opening of the park.

Rancho Mirage Dog Park

The park, located behind the movie theatre on Dinah Shore will be approximately 3 acres and will have separate large and small dog areas. A walking path will be incorporated around the perimeter of the site to accommodate walkers. The projected completion date is November 2015.

Frank Sinatra Bridge

The City received a $35 million Highway Bridge Program State Grant to construct an all-weather bridge to replace the current low water crossing. The bridge will span 1000 feet across the Whitewater Channel and provide full access across the channel during small and large storm events. Construction will start in late 2016 and take 24 months to complete. Access will be provided during construction to Highway 111.

The Rancho Mirage Public Library

The library continues its role as one of the finest in the State. The number of activities and performances are exceptional and include adult, after hour, tutorial, preschool and family programs. There are presently 44,380 card holders reflecting its use by the entire Coachella Valley. The recently completed Writer's Festival was a great cultural success that accommodated 800 visitors over a three day period.

Cell Towers

Due to the inconsistent reception in some areas, the City Council is often asked about cell towers. Since 1995, a total of 49 cell tower applications have been submitted to the city, 35 have been approved or 71% and 11 or 31% expired without any activity. Others have been voluntarily withdrawn. The telephone companies make their own economic decision whether to proceed and the city will always assist in every way possible.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel

The hotel reopened on May 15, 2014 and has been very successful, exceeding the projected occupancy tax revenues the city had projected. The hotel has booked a number of convention and charitable events.

ANA Inspiration
(formerly Kraft-Nabisco Golf Tournament)

The All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan's leading airline, will now serve as the title sponsor of the first major of the LPGA season, the ANA Inspiration. The tournament will be played at Mission Hills Country Club, home of the event since 1972, on March 30-April 5. The television coverage provides the City of Rancho Mirage global coverage and is the city's largest marketing event.

Code Compliance Division

The Code Compliance Division is responsible for helping residents maintain their property values and provide Animal Services through the enforcement of the City's Municipal Code. This division responds to any complaints in violation of the short term rental ordinance. The access telephone number to call in the event of a disturbance is (760) 833-7999.

Housing Division

The city has a new economic development website that reflects the 226 income restricted city owned units. Residents must be a minimum of 55 years of age. The location of each property and a series of photos are available.

Emergency Preparedness

The city has participated in a number of events including the Great California Shakeout earthquake drill and provided a booth at the Rancho Mirage Art Affair. The second annual Race to be Ready will be held on Sunday, March 29.

Council Subcommittees

I am pleased to participate on the following subcommittees and I am available to discuss them in more detail at any time should you so desire. They include:

  • Affordable Housing
  • Eisenhower Medical Center
  • Golf Club Subcommittee
  • McCallum Theatre
  • Mobile Home Liaison
  • Public Safety
  • Section 19 Specific Plan
  • Section 30 Planning
  • Senior Citizen Advisory
  • Special Assistance Funds
  • Sustainability Subcommittee

For more information on all of these projects plus a list of new property development projects in Rancho Mirage you may download the full Planning Commission Report, "What's Happening In Rancho Mirage," from my website.

I will continue to keep you involved and informed and look forward to seeing you at City Hall, a Council Meeting or around our wonderful city.

My best regards,

Thank You Ted Weill

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