As the largest and fastest-growing city in the Coachella Valley, Indio is experiencing what appears to be a rebirth of economic growth and development. Nearly everywhere you turn there is a jackhammer within eyesight and earshot.

Those sights and sounds have brought projects to Indio valued at more than $27 million.

“The City of Indio is entering an exciting time – some are referring to it as a renaissance period for the City of Festivals,” said Development Services Director Les Johnson. “The development activity and growing interest as of late are showing positive signs for Indio.The activity level is moderate and balanced – meaning that though not heavy or even close to resembling the development activity of 2005-2007, it’s healthy and represents virtually all segments with residential, commercial and industrial/manufacturing all represented.  I believe that the next 18 to 24 months will be most telling for Indio and the Coachella Valley.  To sum it up, I would use two words – cautiously optimistic.”

During the past 20 to 21 months, there have been individual announcements of an assortment of new businesses opening in Indio, including a new burger, ice cream, pizza and even doughnut shop.

Piecemeal, new business announcements are good. It is when you look at the big picture that the “Wow! Factor” begins to emerge. It is a force of development.

The Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital – Indio Outpatient Pavilion is expected to open in early 2018. The Children’s Hospital will house a pediatric specialty clinic, pediatric urgent care and offer primary and specialty care to families in the area. It is a Hallmark development.

It is joined by a flurry of building permits for a new car dealership, gas stations, car washes, a youth facility, a place of worship, new office buildings, a body repair shop hotel and more.

“Indio is busy and open for business,” said Mayor Pro Tem Michael Wilson.” Indio continues to lead in permits valleywide and we are seeing continued construction production.”

ToolThe story is in the building permit numbers. A snapshot building permits issued in 2016 through Sept. 30, 2017 shows that:

  • 7 new commercial office permits were issued,  total valuation, $2.7 million
  • 20 new commercial retail permits were issued, total valuation $15.9 million
  • 3 commercial addition permits were issued, total valuation of $195,000
  • 99 commercial permits were issued, total valuation, $10.5 million

Apparently that is just the start.

Wilson, who becomes Mayor in December, said, “We have large projects under construction which will lead to much more opportunity.”

This is the current state of activity in Indio, Wilson said.

  • a complete new elementary school under construction
  • the new expanded John J. Benoit Detention Center is in its last stages of construction
  • an expansion of an entire new shopping center called “The Palms”, that currently has just a WalMart, is building out the rest of the center which will include a 14-plex movie theatre by Maya Cinemas
  • a Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites is under construction
  • “many ,many” Tenant Improvement projects for new businesses throughout the city.

“Yesterday, I was at an Economic Summit in L.A. and spoke to multiple people.” Wilson said. “They all remarked about how Indio and its leadership are doing it right in the Coachella Valley. …They also mentioned that the City Council is always on the cusp of embracing new technology and concepts and that they are not afraid of change. In fact, Gretchen Gonzalez of the Desert Valley Business Association, simply stated, ‘Indio just does it right!’

Additionally, the feedback Wilson said he received is that, “We are open for business, make the entitlement process easy and non-cumbersome and our staff are extremely helpful.”

The ever-increasing popularity of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Music Festival, both held at Empire Polo Club, has helped buoy the city’s rebirth.

Indio is dubbed the City of Festivals for a reason. Big draws include the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival, Southwest Arts Festival, and International Tamale Festival.

Earlier this year, the popular travel site Trivago today named Indio one of the top “Trending Travel Destinations in the U.S. and Beyond.”