Palm Springs, California, has been home to one of the most popular theme parks in the world for decades, but the hotel has been a hit with visitors for nearly 50 years.
In 2017, the hotel’s $6 billion resort was sold for $5.5 billion to a group of investors led by the legendary billionaire Tom Steyer.
But if Steyer’s group’s plans for the new resort are any indication, they’ll be opening it without the hotel.
Steyer and his wife, Amal, are not the only billionaires with plans to use Palm Springs as a launching pad for their ambitious philanthropic causes.
Last year, billionaire David and Lucinda Gates also announced plans to create a new resort in the state, a plan that would be home to a massive new convention center, shopping mall, and residential towers.
But there are questions about whether or not the Steyer-Gates plan will be successful.
“We need to know what the plan is before we can really put the money in,” Palm Springs Mayor Teresa Jacobs told ABC News.
Jacobs said she and the Palm Springs Police Department have not been able to determine the cost of a replacement hotel, and she said they’re concerned that they may have to start over.
Jacobs noted that the city already has a large homeless shelter in place, but she said that will likely be cut back.
“There’s a very high demand for that shelter, so if you’re going to build a hotel in a neighborhood, it needs to be accessible,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs, who said she wants to help ensure the new hotel is “as beautiful as possible,” added that it’s unclear if a new hotel could even be built, especially when other developers are planning similar developments in the region.
She said she’s “absolutely not hopeful” the Steyers and Gates plans will work out, but added that “if they want to put it up, it would be a fantastic place to do it.”
Jacobs also noted that she doesn’t know the plan’s exact price tag, but said she believes it will be well over $7 billion.
“I don’t think anyone would ask for that kind of money, especially in a metropolitan area like Palm Springs,” Jacobs added.
“It’s an area where we’ve always had a lot of development.”
Jacobs is the only elected official to speak out against the Steys plans.
She also noted how Palm Springs has long been known as the “tipping point” for philanthropy.
“They’ve been one of our biggest donors,” Jacobs told The Hill.
“If they’re going for the same thing we’ve been doing, then they’re probably just not going to succeed.”
Jacobs noted how the Steests’ plans have been met with mixed reactions in the community, even though they have promised to create an economic boost for Palm Springs and the surrounding area.
“A lot of the locals are concerned that it might be a bit of a gamble,” Jacobs continued.
“But I think it would do a great thing for Palm Beach.”
The Palm Springs hotel is one of many theme parks that have recently seen an influx of new luxury hotels.
In January, the owners of the World of Disney theme park announced plans for a $1 billion resort and resort hotel that would include hotels for up to 5,000 guests.
In May, the owner of the Grand Hyatt hotel in Chicago announced plans that included a luxury hotel and casino.
The hotel would open in 2019, and the casino would open at some point after that.
But both projects have been plagued with problems that have included delays, and hotel and resort occupancy has been in free fall.
The Las Vegas-based Sands Corp., which owns the resort, said in a statement that “this is not a new story” for Palm County, but it did say that the “temporary nature of the project” was a concern.
The Palm Beach County Economic Development Authority has also expressed concern about the Steyrs plans.
“While Palm Springs may be a very popular destination, the lack of hotel capacity and high costs have not prevented it from being the leader in hospitality investment,” the county said in an emailed statement.
“Palm Springs has been an important partner in economic development for the county and we hope to continue to build on that relationship.”