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Local reaction to sports and entertainment arena moving from Palm Springs to Palm Desert

Palm Springs' loss is Palm Desert's gain. The new sports and entertainment arena, which will be the home of the AHL affiliate of the new Seattle Kraken NHL team, will now be built near Palm Desert off of I-10 and Cook Street. It was originally planned to

The arena was originally going to be built near Agua Caliente Casino in downtown Palm Springs on North Calle Encilia and East Amado Road.

This year has been tough on local businesses, but ones downtown Palm Springs had something to look forward to in 2021 with the new sports and entertainment arena set to be built in walking distance. Now, that’s all changed.

“A little sad… I thought it was going to be a nice impact to the downtown area and the surrounding businesses,” said George Kessinger, co-owner Crazy Mel’s in Palm Springs.

As a restaurant owner in downtown Palm Springs, Kessinger was disappointed by the change in the arena’s location, but he’s happy it will still be in the Coachella Valley.

“I think that they will find their way here to downtown Palm Springs and we’ll all benefit. We may not as much as if they were just one block away from us,” he said.

The 300,000 square foot arena is expected to have more than 10,000 seats. Palm Springs loss is Palm Desert’s gain.

One restaurant at The Village at University Park was excited to hear the news of the sports and entertainment arena being built about a mile away.

“We needed it, there’s been a lot of negativity in the year and stuff like that so this is a great pick-me-up, I’m just so excited for it,” said Caleb Phillips, a server and manager at Billy Q’s in Palm Desert.

One Palm Springs resident wasn’t happy with the news. He says Cook Street in Palm Desert is too far of a drive.

“I was really disappointed because I was fully in support of having that arena here for all the businesses. This is amazing for Palm Springs also for the casino as well, so I wish they could reconsider and come back,” said Steven Parker, a Palm Springs resident.

Another resident says he was concerned about the parking situation in downtown Palm Springs if the arena did open near Agua Caliente Casino. Now, that’s no longer a worry. 

The arena is expected to be completed for the 2022-2023 hockey season.

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Taylor Begley

Taylor Begley is a Sports Anchor and Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. You can also catch her anchoring weather on the weekends. Learn more about Taylor here.


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