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Soho House cancels Palm Springs swim club plans

Soho House, a private members-only club that had plans in the works to build a swim club on a historic site in Palm Springs, has abruptly cancelled the project.

The proposal sought to redevelop the historic Colony 29 site and neighboring properties in the Tennis Club neighborhood of Palm Springs into a membership-only swim club.

Billionaire Ron Burkle, Soho House's majority owner, purchased the properties in 2019 and announced last year intentions of building the club. However, an announcement released last Friday revealed Soho House was pulling the plug on the project, citing "bureaucratic challenges."

"We love the area and the community, but the bureaucracy has proven insurmountable," Burkle wrote.

City officials were left scratching their heads as they said all indications pointed to forward progress for the project.

"Just to be clear, there were no bureaucratic challenges on the part of the city," said Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Bernstein.

City Planning Director Christopher Hadwin also said the city was "ready and willing to work with them to advance this project. We're not holding them up. We're very supportive of the project at the staff level."

Last week, Soho House owner's representative Tim Gleason gave a Modernism Week presentation called "The Historic Burnham Artist Colony and its Future as Soho House Palm Springs."

Mayor Grace Garner said the presentation was "very well received" and demonstrated a commitment by Soho House to historic preservation.

Gleason wrote in a press release: "We were committed to being a good neighbor and preserving the historic character and key elements of the property. However, the costs imposed for all the issues raised made it unfeasible and, at best, two years beyond our planned opening date."

Developers alluded to issues with impacts to neighbors in the area, including parking.

Mayor Garner said she is hopeful that Soho House will "sit down with the city to see if there's any way to help fuel and realize this project."

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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