A new sports and entertainment arena is coming to Palm Springs, it was announced Wednesday.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians reached an agreement with the Oak View Group, a venue development company, to construct a privately- financed, 300,000-square-foot arena on Agua Caliente land in downtown Palm Springs, the tribe announced Wednesday afternoon.
The arena could also be home to a new minor league hockey team — Oak View Group and the NHL Seattle franchise have jointly submitted an application for an American Hockey League expansion team that would play at the arena beginning in fall 2021, tribal officials said.
“This is a unique partnership that will forever change the face of sports and entertainment in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley,” Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe said.
“We are creating a healthy community gathering place for Coachella Valley families and visitors from around the world to celebrate, play and experience diverse entertainment opportunities in a state-of-the-art arena.”
The arena will be built to accommodate conventions, large meetings, international events, as well as award shows and exhibitions, according to the tribe.
The arena will take up 16 acres of tribal land and feature as many as 10,000 seats, as well as suites, hospitality clubs and an adjoining facility that could serve as a “community gathering space” and training center for the proposed hockey team.
“Construction of the new arena in Palm Springs is expected to create thousands of permanent and temporary jobs for the community,” according to a statement issued by the tribe.
Groundbreaking is scheduled for February, and the arena is expected to open by fall 2021 in coordination with the expansion Seattle NHL franchise for the 2021-2022 AHL season, the tribe said.
“The new arena in downtown Palm Springs is a terrific project. If we are successful with our application for an AHL franchise, it would represent an exciting opportunity to bring the first professional hockey team to this region,” NHL Seattle CEO Tod Leiweke said.
“We are confident that the market is ready to embrace a winter sports team and that the community will help us achieve the minimum level of season tickets and premium sales we need.”
The Agua Caliente band is already building the Agua Caliente Cultural Center in downtown Palm Springs, set to open in 2020, and is also planning a third casino in Cathedral City.