River to flow through “Golden Triangle” in Rancho Mirage

River to flow through “Golden Triangle” in Rancho Mirage

COACHELLA VALLEY – Time Warner Cable held a groundbreaking ceremony last week to inaugurate construction of its fiber-optic upgrade. The company has invested $14 million to transform its traditional, one-way cable system into a sophisticated, state-of-the-art, twoway network.

Time Warner has provided cable and entertainment information to residents of Cathedral City and Palm Springs for over 30 years, and officials from both cities attended the groundbreaking. After a recent merger with the Coachella Valley’s second cable company, Media One, is completed, Warner Cable’s service area will increase from 31,000 to about 100,000 homes. Unlike when cable was first laid, today’s upgrade includes many businesses and public buildings.

Construction crews will install over 460 miles of fiber-optic lines that will serve as the backbone of the new network. They will also replace existing sections of coaxial cable that will be connected to the fiber-optic lines to create a Hybrid Fiber/Coax network.

“When this project is completed by December, 2000, the new network will allow us to offer high-speed cable modem online service and digital cable service,” explained Michael Bauerfeind, general manager of Time Warner Cable.

Michael Sagona, director of technical operations, who saw this same technology come to fruition in San Diego, has been assigned to work with the desert upgrade. “Customers will benefit with more channel choices and better picture quality. The new system can accommodate high definition TV, and will allow customers to choose from 150 channels and order video-on-demand. Fiber-optic transmits information at the speed of light.”

Commending, Warner on its investment, Cathedral City Mayor Gary Amy quoted Orson Welles on the subject of television. I hate TV,” said Welles, “but watching TV is like eating peanuts; you can’t stop once you start.”

Will Kleindienst, Mayor of Palm Springs, said the greater focus of the new system would he to incite more economic development. “The system is blazingly fast. It will carry us into the information age and encourage new business here.”

Bauerfeind explained that Time Warner would do its best to minimize customer inconveniences by scheduling cable ‘down times’ during non-peak viewing hours and would make a special effort not to interrupt the World Series. He said customers could call the ‘upgrade hotline’ (877-314-INFO) with questions and to find out what areas are under construction. RANCHO MIRAGE – With the deadline for making a commitment near, Los Angeles-based J.H. Snyder Co. has informed this city that it intends to proceed with its plans for constructing a $50 miillion, 240,000 square-foot shopping center to be called “The River at Rancho Mirage.”

Ile center is slated for the so-called “Golden Triangle,” a 25-acre parcel with frontage on Highway 111, Bob Hope and Rancho Las Palmas Drives.

Barry Foster, city economic development director, said Snyder, a Rancho Mirage resident, is scheduled to meet with the City Council on July 27 to work out purchase and construction details.

A second critical meeting is set for Aug. 12, when the developer will go before the Planning Commission for approval of a pre-development plan and an environmental assessment of the proposed project.

If all goes as planned, ground for the new center will be broken in 2001.

One of the joint venture partners will be James Edwards, C.E.O of the Newport Beach-based Edwards Theatres Circuit Inc. Edwards plans to build a 3,500-seat theatre in the center.

While an Edwards Theatre would be an anchor for the center, its main attraction would be a five-acre stream meandering through the project. The stream would be visible from Highway 111.

There are rumors that commitments have been made by a major bookstore, believed to be Borders Books, and a specialty gourmet market to lease space in the new center.

“Me Golden Triangle” has been targeted for a range of uses over the years, with suggested anchors ranging from retail shopping to civic center to a new city hall.

Copyright Desert Publication, Inc. and Sharon Apfelbaum Jul 30, 1999

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