The battle over the Palm Springs Mall is heading to court as attorneys for College Of The Desert try to invoke eminent domain after negotiations with the property owner failed.
The Palm Springs Mall has seen better days. The parking lot sits empty. The doors are boarded up. And signs advertising the stores inside have been removed. Those that remain are just a reminder of what once was.
"There was even an ice skate rink there once and there was a bowling alley and a market, there was Miller's Outpost. Like I said, it was everybody's go to place," said former Palm Springs Mall employee Sharron Perry.
The mall has been closed for more than a decade and now College Of The Desert wants to buy the 29-acre property to build a west valley campus.
"I really think it's overdue. It's more than time," said Perry.
C.O.D. students who live in Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs have to make the almost half hour trek to get to class. Nearby Palm Springs High School students say a west valley campus would make things a lot easier.
"That's tough. That's real tough. Some people don't have transportation or a vehicle. So it's hard for kids to get to their destination, to get to school," said Palm Springs High School student Deion Johnson.
A temporary campus is being set up near the intersection of Baristo Road and Hermosa Drive. But people who live nearby have already started complaining, not about eminent domain, but the eminent traffic. Students just want a college nearby.
"They can take the bus out here. It'll be faster and easier to get their degrees and move on with their lives," said Johnson
The owner of the mall is Haiming Tan, a Chinese business man. His attorneys claim that College Of The Desert can build their campus elsewhere in Palm Springs and that the college did not properly notify Tan before taking its eminent domain case to court. The trial is scheduled to begin on January 2.
72920 Park View Drive
Palm Desert, California 92260
Viewer Hotline: 760-340-1623
Story Tips: 760-340-1623