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Local flavors and merchants could soon greet travelers at Palm Springs International Airport

Note: The original version of this article stated that the council voted 4-0 to ask for some adjustments and bring back the airport proposal. The proposal actually passed during the meeting.

Visitors to Palm Springs International Airport could soon see more retail and food options that are familiar to Coachella Valley locals.

The Palm Springs City Council is considering a recommendation to approve a ten-year concession agreement for retail, food and beverage services at the Palm Springs airport.

At a meeting Monday night, Councilmembers approved the proposal 4-0 with some changes to the language of the proposal to ensure a certain percentage of local businesses are maintained.

"Our policy interest is the percentage or share in local business and not the specific local business," said Councilmember Christy Holstege.  

The proposed concepts include a mix of retail and food and beverage options, with a strong focus on local flavor and experiences.

Palm Springs / The Marshall Retail Group

The proposals include artists, destinations, retail shops, and food that reflect the Palm Springs and Coachella Valley. The full development proposal includes seven curated concepts that aim to elevate the shopping and food experience at PSP with a distinctly local vibe.

A 'sense of place'

According to a staff report prepared for Monday's meeting, 'It has been over twenty years since PSP has undertaken a competitive solicitation process for in-terminal food, beverage, and retail concessions."

The goals of the work of the Airport Commission and Airport Staff include creating "a concessions program that articulates a local 'sense of place' that provides "a mix of local, regional, and national food, beverage, and retail brands."

According to the staff report, the design includes opportunities to offer items sold to "include Palm Springs Life Magazine, the Living Desert, Rancho Relaxo, Rappi Palm Springs, the Body Deli, Club Time Wrap, Thick as Thieves, TKB Bakery and Deli, Palm Springs Farmers Market, the Ice Cream Shoppe, Joshua Tree Coffee Company, as well as brands from Trina Turk, Maui Jim, Ray Ban, golf apparel from Travis Mathew, Adidas, Black Clover, Elan and Fenini fashion, Marla jewelry, Walaroo hats, and Tumi travel essentials."

Palm Springs / The Marshall Retail Group

Food and beverage

Councilors are considering approving an award of a Concession Agreement for Food and Beverage to Paradies Lagardére.

The local restaurants named as part of the proposed concepts include El Mirasol and Trio, both of which are established restaurants in Palm Springs.

The local flavor also would include Half Moon Empanadas and Coachella Valley Coffee, "a local Palm Springs coffee company offering farm-to-cup coffee essentials like lattes, espresso, smoothies, and tea and breakfast food items, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and paninis."

Palm Springs / The Marshall Retail Group

The Pink Door is an automated vending zone, named and designed with a clear nod to the pink door that is a must-photograph destination for many Palm Springs visitors.

Palm Springs / The Marshall Retail Group

Shopping and vendors

A recommendation is in front of councilors to approve the award of the Concession Agreement for Retail to The Marshall Retail Group, LLC. They expect to bring travelers "products with more than forty local and surrounding area vendors through partnerships and joint ventures."

Palm Springs / The Marshall Retail Group

The Mojave Oasis "space takes inspiration from the serene feeling one gets when at their Palm Springs vacation home, sitting in their backyard, enjoying the dramatic views of the area. The outdoor area includes a calming place to sit and relax, with a cup of coffee or an ice cream while waiting for a flight. A custom mural by famed Angel Wings Project creator Colette Miller, inspired by the wing mural that she did in the downtown graces the wall and creates a selfie moment."

Palm Springs / The Marshall Retail Group

Hey Joshua is a 361-square-foot convenience store that offers the grab-and-go options expected at any airport plus gifts and products inspired by nearby Joshua Tree National Park.

Palm Springs / The Marshall Retail Group

The project promises a focus of sustainability, with inclusions of highly recyled materials as well as efficient HVAC and lighting systems.

And yes, all of the stores are expected to be pet-friendly.

Duty Free Cart

Why wouldn't a sales cart at Palm Springs International Airport be constructed from a literal golf cart? The proposed Duty Free sales cart gives of Palm Springs vibes with bright pink and green design.

Palm Springs / The Marshall Retail Group

The timeline

The developer, The Marshall Retail Group, offered the timeline below:

• Contract awarded

• Open temporary news & convenience concessions units

APRIL 2023
• Open The Pink Door, I ♥ PS, and PSP Employee Vending

• Open Coachella Duty Free mobile unit.
• Open Mojave Oasis, Uptown, Hey Joshua, and InMotion.

The developer is estimated (based on rent and sales projections) to reach $1.7M in rent revenues to the airport and $19.5M over the 10-year initial term. In the report to city leaders, developers write "we project year one sales of $8.5M for the entire package and $97.6M in sales for the entire term."

Palm Springs / The Marshall Retail Group

The majority of the development is located in areas accessible to passengers who have passed through security screening. The staff report describes the "limited demand for concessions pre-security," reading: "Since the introduction of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoints after the terrorist attacks of September 2011, passengers are keen to spend their dwell time post-security."

History of the project

Earlier this year, News Channel 3 reported the airport was looking to add locally-focused vendors and restaurants.

To meet the demand of the growing traffic at the PSP, the city proposed a solicitation for new airport concessions in 2019. In March of 2020, the City of Palm Springs advertised a Request for Proposals (RFP) for new concessionaires but these efforts were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Airport Staff and the Airport Commission reviewed and modified the RFP to meet the current goals and objectives of PSP and the City. 

The staff report prepared for Monday's meeting also considers the location of the concessions, saying that "since the introduction of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoints after the terrorist attacks of September 2011, passengers are keen to spend their dwell time post-security." The demand for pre-security concessions is "normally quite limited."

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Tatum Larsen

KESQ News Team


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