The Retreat is a proposed repositioning of the Porcupine Creek property from a private enclave to a six-star, exclusive guest experience. Plans have been submitted to the City of Rancho Mirage and are proceeding through the required entitlement process.
Since 2011, Porcupine Creek has been used as a vacation property by the current owner, his family and guests, and has functioned as the ‘home quarters’ during the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament. Repositioning will open the property exclusively to health and wellness enthusiasts placing Rancho Mirage among the world’s most desirable retreat destinations.
The property currently includes a golf course with clubhouse; tennis pavilion with three courts; pool and spa area with private spa treatment rooms; fitness center; poolside bar; and twenty-three studio, single-bedroom, and multi-bedroom units for guests (“keys”).
Proposed upgrades would include a rerouted golf course—on the existing fairways with some minor adjustments—a modified main house, a new restaurant, dining deck, upgraded spa complex, additional wellness related facilities, and an incremental increase in the number of units (currently at twenty-three, plans would allow for a potential increase to fifty). The option to “phase” the construction of new keys is being studied.
Timing can only be projected at this point. The draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was released for public review and comment on October 30, 2020 and the comment period ended on December 14, 2020. It is hoped that by early 2021 a final EIR will be adopted and hearings will be concluded, with repositioning anticipated to begin thereafter. Project construction may be implemented through a “phased approach.”
No new land acquisitions are required for the repositioning of the existing property. No currently undisturbed land is expected to be impacted by the project.
The Retreat will be an exclusive destination for health and wellness enthusiasts, and therefore not open to the general public. Staff and service personnel will provide a six-star experience at the relatively small profile property with a maximum of only fifty keys.
The golf course will serve Retreat guests only. It will not be open to the public, nor are there any plans to sell private golf memberships.
No. The plan is to reposition Porcupine Creek as an exclusive small-scale Retreat, with permits being sought to increase the existing twenty-three keys at the property to no more than a total maximum of fifty keys. Expansion to a resort size project would be contrary to the repositioning plan and would not be allowed under the permits or approvals issued for the project.
The Retreat will not be a location for public events. The project entitlements limit events to private events for Retreat guests. Similar to past practice, the Retreat will be permitted to host charitable and other special events like weddings. If any larger events are planned, the proposed Development Agreement will require submission of a special event management plan to the City to address any potential traffic, parking and noise concerns.
Programming at the Retreat is intended for guests 16 years of age and older.
Yes. To welcome community input, provide transparency, and detail mitigation measures, the City prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). It was released for public comment on October 30, 2020, the 45-day period to submit comments on it ended on December 14, 2020, and it is expected to be finalized in early 2021.
Yes. The Retreat will fully comply with all conditions of the Coachella Valley Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
As contemplated by initial project entitlements received by the prior owner in 1997, the property presently consists of three parcels. One of the parcels is 3.7 acres and is permitted to have a main house and two guest houses. The other two parcels are each over 100 acres and are permitted to have a main house and up to 4 guest houses. A majority of the existing 23 units or “keys” are bedroom suites in the property’s main house. To date, the property has not been fully built-out under the zoning standards that currently apply to it.
Ongoing Estate Upgrades
No. Current construction activities are not part of the proposed Porcupine Creek Retreat project. The current activities are part of regular and ongoing enhancements to the property under current zoning standards and existing permits, comparable to upgrades that have been made to the estate over the last several years.
Have additional measures been taken to address traffic concerns from the current construction activity?
Yes. After receiving reports from neighboring residents of traffic concerns with regard to current construction activities, enhanced construction traffic protocols were implemented. Importantly, a new phone number (760.833.2450) has been dedicated to this issue for reporting traffic concerns to our management team.
Will the Retreat increase neighborhood traffic, either by guests, deliveries, staff, or construction?
Details have been addressed in the traffic study as part of the EIR, but day-to-day Retreat operations, including traffic patterns as may be perceived by local area residents, are not projected to have any noticeably greater impact than that of peak usage periods during recent years (for instance, during the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament).
The interests of the neighborhood are a high priority to the project team. Noise and lighting impacts are not expected to be appreciably different than what exists currently and will be compatible with a residential neighborhood setting. Potential impacts and mitigation measures are being addressed in the appropriate sections of the draft EIR.
Just as Porcupine Creek does now, the Retreat is being planned to blend as seamlessly as possible into the surrounding landscape.
Setbacks and building heights, as well as the preservation of berms and landscaped areas, are being planned to minimize the visibility of any buildings or other vertical structures from off-property.
Yes. The Retreat is expected to have a positive impact on the economy of Rancho Mirage and the surrounding area. It is anticipated that the repositioning will create both construction jobs and new staff positions, as well as increased exposure for the Rancho Mirage tourism and hospitality sectors as one of the top retreats in the world. There is also the potential for guests of the Retreat to patronize local commercial establishments prior and post visit.
The project is anticipated to bring noteworthy prestige and economic growth to Rancho Mirage. At present, the City receives only limited revenues from the use of Porcupine Creek as a private estate—a small share of taxes on estate-generated sales at local commercial establishments, and a minimal share of property tax revenues (since the property was a part of the City at the time of its incorporation). The revenues and benefits the City will receive upon repositioning Porcupine Creek as a Retreat are expected to include transient occupancy tax (TOT) and sales tax revenues generated by the luxury travel market.