I remain positive regarding the future of our city and its efforts to strengthen our economy and attract new businesses of all kinds, including retail.
Our city’s finances are being watched very closely. In 2019 the City of Desert Hot Springs hired a full-time Economic Development Manager, an actual City employee who concentrates entirely on making our City more attractive to new businesses and then literally finds them. And it has worked! We now have Amazon itself coming to our town where they will operate a huge warehouse, and we have a second warehouse coming right next to it called Desert Gateway. And, we have a new Pods warehouse in construction now. These three businesses alone will generate large amounts of tax revenue for the City. In 2023 alone, the City issued 2,042 residential permits, and 134 commercial permits, illustrating just how interested businesses and individuals are in coming to Desert Hot Springs. As our population and per capita income rise, we can expect to see even more permits issued for new businesses, including retail, and new homes.
We are often told by businesses that it is difficult to find affordable locations to operate their business. We have quite a few storefronts that are vacant, have been vacant for years, and will remain vacant for the foreseeable future because of landlords who choose to keep them vacant. This really bothers me. It hurts not only the businesses that want to start here, but also the residents of DHS who have to look at vacant storefronts and miss out on the positive economic and social impacts that businesses have on a community. I am working with our City Attorney to fix this. I am confident that we will be able to incentivize these landlords to enter into leases, including through the use of penalties and fines, in order to recover lost City revenues and bring “life” to vacant storefronts.
We are already re-doubling our efforts to attract new retail businesses to come to DHS and fill our empty storefronts while focusing on the core economic improvements that attract businesses and make them want to invest in our city.