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COACHELLA VALLEY, CA-Brokers who work the Coachella Valley have been talking for some time now about how the region is taking off, and three new developments now under way underscore that take-off. The three include the 11,400-sf first phase of the 54,000-sf Willow Vista Plaza office campus in Palm Desert and two new shopping centers that will be anchored by Wal-Mart Supercenters.

Maggie Montez of the Indian Wells office of CB Richard Ellis reports that the office project at 39 to 800 Portola Ave., north of Country Club Drive, is being built in three phases, with Phase I incorporating two single-story buildings. Montez and Brian Ward, also of the Indian Wells office, of CBRE, are the leasing agents for the development.

The Willow Vista site is a project of Scotelle Development LLC. The full project will comprise five buildings, with four of them ranging from approximately 5,000 sf to 6,500 sf and one two-story building of 30,000 sf. The development, adjacent to the Desert Willow View Golf Course, was designed by Prest Vuksic Architects in Palm Desert and is being constructed by Orr Builders.

Montez says new office developments are leasing quickly in Palm Desert, including “projects that are 100% pre-leased before construction is completed.” Among these is a 16,000-sf building on Country Club Drive that was pre-leased.

Montez says the development in the Coachella Valley is being propelled by population growth that includes 395,000 residents, 150,000 snowbirds and three million tourists annually. The retail developments indicate a new trend in the market: Major retailers are branching out of the traditional Highway 111 corridor and establishing second and third locations in the Coachella Valley, she says.

The shopping centers that will be anchored by the Wal-Mart Supercenters are Desert Gateway at Monterey and Dinah Shore avenues in Palm Desert and Destination Ramon on Ramon Road, east of Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs. According to Montez, Wal-Mart is building on the success of its La Quinta Supercenter, which opened in March 2004.

At Desert Gateway, which scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2006, the 700,000-sf center will include a Sam’s Club, along with other national chain big box stores. Restaurants will include Starbucks, Quiznos, Cold Stone Creamery, and DelTaco. Neighborhood service tenants will include Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, and Go Wireless.

At Destination Ramon, the tenants will include national chains Office Depot and PetsMart, followed by Del Taco and Bank of America. The 300,000-sf center is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year.

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