City Assigns Palm Springs Modern Committee to Monitor Implementation
Grit Development, formally Wessman Development, the owner of the historic Town & Country Center (T&CC), has announced a rehabilitation plan that will begin in January 2018 with the period-correct repainting of the building’s exteriors, landscape improvements and re-roofing. A comprehensive rehabilitation will follow after the firm’s downtown project has been completed in several years. In the interim, the City of Palm Springs (the City) has directed the company to more fully secure the property and prevent further deterioration.
The property – centered by an expansive courtyard – straddles N. Indian and N. Palm Canyon drives and is comprised of three structures: the two-story north building with its curving canopy, shops, and second story apartments; the Town & Country Restaurant (most recently Zeldaz); and the south building now housing a restaurant and retail shops.
The T&CC was designed by renowned Los Angeles architects A. Quincy Jones and Paul R. Williams. Jones was a master architect who designed Sunnylands and, along with Williams, rehabbed Palm Springs’ Tennis Club in 1950. Paul R. Williams was the most acclaimed African American architect to practice in the 20th century. In addition, T&CC represents the best example of the Late Moderne architectural style in the Coachella Valley. Due to its significance, T&CC was designated a Palm Springs Class One Historic Site in 2016 and was also found eligible for listing in the prestigious National Register of Historic Places.
Last year the Palm Springs City Council officially directed the Palm Springs Modern Committee to advise the council and work with the owner on a historically and architecturally accurate rehabilitation of T&CC as well as oversee the project’s implementation. Said PS ModCom president Chris Menrad, “The Town & Country Center has been a top priority for our organization since the early 2000s. Per the City’s directive, our goal is to guide and monitor the property’s restoration according to current preservation standards.”
Said Grit Development Company CEO Michael Braun, “We believe that a rehabilitated Town & Country Center will benefit the city’s architectural tourism industry and provide tax dollars from new shops and other uses once it’s restored. That’s why we are committed to this plan.”
Added Palm Springs City Councilman J.R. Roberts, “The City has clearly stated that the Town & Country Center is an important asset in our revitalized downtown that can be brought back to life for the benefit of residents and tourists alike. We commend the property owner for committing to making this a reality.”
As this project moves forward the Palm Springs Modern Committee will continue to issue updates to the community.