SOURCE: City Manager Rick Daniels

October 09, 2012 06:00 ET

Rick Daniels: How to Revitalize Local Economies as Shopping Malls Weaken

As Shopping Malls in Southern California Desert Communities Fail to Attract Consumers, Ambitious Professionals Aim to Revamp the Centers; Rick Daniels, Desert Hot Springs City Manager, Highlights the Importance of These Businesses in Terms of Local Economy

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA--(Marketwire - Oct 9, 2012) - Although temperatures reached their peak in Southern California desert communities this summer, few residents sought the indoor comfort, leisure and commerce that local shopping malls offer. The decline in shopping mall success in the Palm Springs and Coachella Valley areas, recently highlighted in a article, has drawn the attention of developers and business owners who wish to revitalize local economies. As City Manager of Desert Hot Springs, California, Rick Daniels remains committed to boosting local economies -- something in which these shopping malls play a vital role.

The article explains that Palm Springs Mall and Indio Fiesta Mall are among the shopping centers that are lacking in activity. While Palm Springs Mall is a 320,000-square-foot traditional mall, there are only two remaining stores with outer spaces being leased by Kaplan College. Indio Fiesta Mall, according to the article, is reported to have 24 vacant stores; residents report the feeling that the space is a "ghost town" and instead turn to the Westfield Palm Desert Mall for more shopping options. The article states, "Several shoppers said they consider Westfield the only mall left in the valley that offers the 'true mall shopping experience' with anchors such as Macy's, JC Penney and a full range of shopping options."

Despite the convenient access points, cool temperatures and available space, real estate developers remain puzzled on the cause of the decline in shoppers. According to Rick Daniels, these patterns require owners and stores to focus on the changing needs of consumers. Daniels explains, "Old and tired centers must keep up with current consumer trends or they will perish and a new owner will revive them." Such is the case of the Palm Springs Mall, which, as the article indicates, is facing plans for revitalization under new ownership by Pasadena-based YTC Properties.

While the article maintains a regional focus on the decline of the shopping mall, it suggests that the problem is one that is becoming prevalent in communities across America. In response, Rick Daniels observes, "Shoppers are looking for basic stores, such as Wal-Mart, Safeway and Albertson's, for their basic needs, but when it comes to shopping for luxuries beyond that consumers want the nice and unique shopping experience to go with it. Successful retailers must address those situations and look for those opportunities."


Rick Daniels has served as the City Manager in Desert Hot Springs, California since 2007. In this role, Rick Daniels strives to foster financial growth, stabilize city government, encourage public works, reduce crime and engage citizens to become more involved with their community. Prior to holding this position, he filled other prestigious roles, including serving as the president of Richard A. Daniels, Inc. Rick Daniels was also the Capital Projects Director of Waste Management of North America, as well as the President/CEO of the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership.