On Wednesday morning the Riverside County Planning Commission voted unanimously to allow the construction of a multi-use arena to move forward north of Palm Desert. The vote passed 5-0 for the $250 million project, which is scheduled to break ground sometime this month.
"We have the music festivals, the tennis garden has been very successful as well so it would be nice to add this to the Coachella Valley," said Fourth District Planning Commissioner Guillermo Sanchez.
The arena was originally planned to be built in Palm Springs but was changed to an area north of the I-10 freeway between Washington Street and Cook Street.
A majority of callers phoned in during public comment to voice their support during Wednesday morning's meeting.
"The city is now behind it and that the concerns of public safety, the cost, environmental studies have all been addressed," Palm Desert City Council member, Gina Nestande said.
There has also been a fair share of criticism with residents who have expressed concern over the environmental impact of the project and how it could increase traffic.
The arena will also be used for other entertainment, such as concerts and live sporting events. In an area that hosts Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals, as well as professional sporting events like the BNP Paribas Open and the American Express, the thought is to have a multi-purpose arena for sports and entertainment. The arena will be more than 300,000 square feet and feature 10,000-plus seats plus modern suites and premium hospitality clubs. Hockey games are expected to have an estimated 9,900 seats, while concerts will be able to hold roughly over 11,600.
Developers involved in the project lauded that it will also be an environmentally sound project that will be powered by solar energy, but many residents have criticized those claims. The developer, Oak View Group, put forth an ambitious goal, which is motivated by climate change. The company said they are aiming to make the arena completely carbon neutral by 2025. Infrastructure of the arena will also supply 25 percent of its overall energy, such as solar-covered parking canopies, according to the developer.