New Indoor Stadium & Sports Complex For Thousand Palms

Thousand Palms Plan for 12,000-Seat Indoor Stadium and Sports Complex Now in Place

Who: The plan is proposed by the Coachella Sports and Entertainment Stadium Authority, a group founded by J. David Miller the founder and coach of the SoCal Coyotes football team.

What: A $300 million, 12,000-seat indoor stadium and sports complex which includes a hotel, medical facilities, retail and senior-living opportunities

Where: The vacant land in Thousand Palms between the Classic Club golf course and Interstate 10.

Why: The goal is to be part of the booming youth sports industry, hosting camps, tournaments, and the like, while also being a venue for the SoCal Coyotes and perhaps a pro soccer team. Local high schools would be able to use the facilities as well.

Plan for 12,000-seat indoor stadium and sports complex in Thousand Palms in place

A 12,000 seat indoor stadium is in the works and would be located in Thousand Palms. Palak Barmaiya/The Desert Sun

(Photo: Richard Lui/The Desert Sun and Omar Ornelas/The Desert Sun)

Thursday morning a group called the Coachella Sports and Entertainment Stadium Authority will announce plans to build a $300 million, 12,000-seat mixed-use stadium in Thousand Palms.

David Miller, the founder and coach of the SoCal Coyotes developmental football team in the desert, launched the Coachella Sports and Entertainment Stadium Authority (CSESA) with the goal of creating this sprawling facility.

The proposed sports complex would include a hotel, medical facilities, a senior living village and retail and be located on 125 acres of land owned by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation in the area between The Classic Club golf course and Interstate 10.

It will be called The Shield at 1Coyote Way, and its primary focus will be to offer a place to allow the desert to be a player in the $15.3 billion youth sports industry, hosting camps, conferences, tournaments and championship games, etc.

“If this goes through as planned – and it’s no longer just a plan – the entire community will benefit for years to come,” said Miller, whose group will make the official announcement of the project during the first Coachella Valley Sports Tourism Summit on Thursday morning at Fantasy Springs Resort. “It had to be a perfect storm, a perfect vortex.  There had to be the perfect demand for sports tourism, the perfect growth of the valley, the perfect economic conditions for the valley and even the right politicians in office both Democrat and Republican. It all came together.”

And Miller has brought in a team that he believes will help make this vision a reality.

More: A new indoor sports arena in the desert? Here are 10 ways it could be put to use

This rendering if of The Star, a sports complex in Frisco, Texas after which The Shield in Thousand Palms will be patterned. (Photo: Contributed)

 The land where The Shield will be built is owned by the Berger Foundation, and they’ve agreed to sell it to Richmond Honan Development and Acquisitions LLC, a firm based out of Alpharetta, Georgia, whose primary efforts to this point during their 42-year history have been building sprawling hospital complexes.

The Berger Foundation, which, according to its website supports organizations who promote health care, social services and education in an effort to help people help themselves, has been wanting to do something big with this plot of land for years but never found the right project until Miller and his group came around.

According to Doug Vance, vice president of Real Estate at the Berger Foundation, when they purchased the land in 2003 the original idea was to build a university on it, but that did not pan out.

“There’s been many other potential investors that have come along over the years and nothing ever seemed to exactly fit,” Vance said. “But when Coach Miller brought The Shield concept to the Berger Foundation with all the charitable things he does for the children here in the Coachella Valley, we were very interested and then when we looked into Richmond Honan as a developer they also had the same goals and interests that we do to help the community.”

Vance said that he could not disclose the details of the purchase price at this time, but did indicate that the Berger Foundation is trying to “help out on a financial basis by discounting the land to make it truly come to fruition.”

The proposed site for a large sports complex on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 in Palm Desert.

(Photo: Richard Lui/The Desert Sun)

 According to Miller’s proposal, The Shield will be completed in 2021 and will feature a 12,000-seat air-conditioned indoor stadium, a 120-room hotel, medical and senior living facilities and also be the home to the SoCal Coyotes football team. In addition, discussions are in place to bring a pro soccer team to the facility.

The East Valley Coalition including Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez commissioned CSESA to study sports tourism in the Coachella Valley.  Miller and his team learned about and visited similar facilities that already exist and are doing well across the country.

A campus called The Star in Frisco, Texas, which partly houses the Dallas Cowboys headquarters was used as a model, but a better comparison to the desert might be the Grand Park Sports Campus that was completed in 2015 in Westfield, Indiana. And it’s a success story.

The population of the town (around 850,000) and the site (a little town surrounded by agriculture fields) are similar to the desert’s. The town of Westfield issued $70 million in bonds to build the campus, a 400-acre complex that opened in 2014 and includes 31 grass and synthetic fields for soccer, lacrosse and other field sports, 26 softball and baseball diamonds and a 370,000 square foot indoor facility. New hotels and retail outlets followed. According to the study, in 2016, Grand Park attracted 1.2 million visitors resulting in $145 million in tourism spending.

Similar success stories in the report came from Colorado, Kentucky, Florida, Mississippi and Walnut Creek, California.

Curt Pesmen, part of the CSESA team as the national director, strategic media, became friends with Miller 20 years ago when they worked on the same magazine. Pesmen said that while every project of this magnitude finds stumbling blocks along the way, he is confident that The Shield can have a positive impact on the community similar to what they’ve seen in Westfield, Indiana, for example.

View of the proposed site for a large sports complex on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 in Palm Desert. The land is located between the Classic Club and the I-10.
(Photo: Richard Lui/The Desert Sun and O)

“A project of this size, and remember it’s not just a stadium, it’s a campus, is bound to have some bumps along the way, but early indications are that there is broad support for each piece of the puzzle in this case,” said Pesmen, who is with BoCo Media based out of Colorado. “I’m optimistic but realistic, and if and when some of those stumbling blocks occur, all the players in this case like Richmond Honan have all kinds of expertise and experience to get over some of those obstacles.”

The origin of his vision came when Miller’s developmental football team couldn’t find a place to play in the desert. They bounced around to different high school football fields like Palm Springs and Xavier Prep. They played in Anza, and they even played on a golf course one time at Desert Princess.

Miller decided that rather than complain about the situation he would try to do something about it. He started on a mission to create a place in the desert that could house everything from a pro sporting event, to youth clinics and also create a place for families to come and have fun with rock walls and eateries without spending much money.

The other driving force for this project, according to Miller, is God. Faith plays a large role in everything Miller does. The name Shield comes from a biblical passage Proverbs Chapter 30, verse 5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

This rendering if of The Star, a sports complex in Frisco, Texas
after which The Shield in Thousand Palms will be patterned. 
(Photo: Contributed)

 Miller said every step of the way he would pray about whether or not to continue.

“Whenever I thought to myself this is the end of it, it’s not going to happen, I would pray for a sign. I would say ‘God, if we’re not supposed to build this stadium, shut this down, shut the whole thing down, shut the Coyotes down. Shut it all down.’ And then Boom! A new door would open and the next piece to the puzzle would be there right in front of us,” Miller said. “And that happened again and again and again. You can not take God out of this equation and just write about a building. I mean, I guess you could, but it wouldn’t be the truth.”

In the past decade, developers have proposed – and sometimes built – large sports and entertainment complexes in the desert.

About seven years ago, a group of investors proposed building a racetrack on unincorporated land south of Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport. When the project appeared to stall, couple Tim and Twanna Rogers bought the property instead. As of March, the pair had invested $150 million of their own money so far to build Thermal Club, a 344-acre private racetrack and housing development.

But other pitches for gleaming venues have not taken off.

In 2015, for example, real estate company Saxony Group proposed turning a former Sam’s Club site in La Quinta into a convention center capable of hosting a crowd of up to 10,300 people at a time, touting the property as the future home of music festivals and parties. The plan never advanced, and the old Sam’s Club recently sold after sitting vacant for eight years.

How confident is this group in this case?

“I want to say 100 percent, but you can never really say that,” Vance said. “But this Shield proposal is the best I’ve seen in my years with the foundation (since 1990) and I’m confident with the team and partners that Coach Miller has.

“We’ve done a lot of analysis on these people. We know they’re for real. We know they have the lord on their side. This is a marriage with a non-profit and someone that wants to do good in the community and for the children and I believe it will work and we’ll make sure it works. They have our full support throughout the development of the project.”

Credit: Shad Powers and Amy DiPierro, Palm Springs Desert Sun

3 Tips for Building Personal Brand

The MPW Insiders Network is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for, “What’s the best way to manage your personal brand?” is written by Carine Clark, president and CEO of MaritzCX.

How many times have you heard, “I totally Googled you”? Last summer, I was on an African vacation with my family and 20 strangers. Two weeks into the trip, one of the retired guests said, “I totally Googled you, and you are different than I thought—you’re a big deal.” Even though I had tried to be in the background, humbly enjoying my time away from my regular life as a CEO of a fast-growing tech company in Utah, I couldn’t escape my brand—even in the middle of Africa.

I believe that your personal brand should be personal. It should be authentic, and it should be a rich representation of not only what you’ve done, but of who you are and what you care about. I’m a tech CEO, but I care about mentoring young people. Because I understand how important my brand is when it comes to the outcome of my career, I’m very deliberate about the projects and organizations I choose to support. Your brand will always be defined by the traits you display and the work you do in your personal life.


Do forensics on your brand
Before you can effectively manage your personal brand, you must first have a 360-degree understanding of how others perceive you. Reach out to friends or colleagues who will be honest with you and ask for their feedback. Listen to what they have to say. Some of what you hear may be on par with what you want your brand to be, and some may vary.

See also: Here’s What Would Happen if More Leaders Embraced Their Flaws

Early in my career, some of my colleagues told me people thought I was mean—some were even scared of me. I knew that I had high expectations and that I could be tough, but mean? I had spent countless hours helping mentor young people and giving back to the tech community, so why didn’t that stand out? I was typically very direct—almost curt—when speaking to people, and realized I needed to be careful. You need to give people context before asking them to do something that you need.

Simply put, if you want to be recognized as philanthropic, then be big-hearted and generous. If you want to be perceived as humble, then be humble. Your brand directly reflects what you’ve done, who you are, and what you care about. Early on, I realized what mattered to me and wanted my brand to reflect entrepreneurship, mentorship, and advocating for women in tech. When I understood how my brand was perceived, I was empowered to make it happen.

For instance, I would only take speaking engagements that supported my values. Even now, I only share social content that falls in line with my brand. Most importantly, I spend a lot of my professional and personal time putting my money where my mouth is.

It’s no secret that the only constant in life is change. As you learn and grow, so will your brand. Let it. Just be cognizant of what the changes are. Most importantly, realize that rough patches and hard times—whether they be layoffs, health crises, or family emergencies—don’t have to define your brand, but they can refine it.

5 Ways to Build a Strong Personal Brand
Former President of Entertainment for Telemundo Nely Galán explains.
At one point in my life, I had to accept that cancer would, to some extent, be a part of my brand. While I didn’t want to be defined by it, I had to recognize that people knew about it and it was out there, so I embraced it and braided it into my brand. My brand message was, “Yes, I’ve dealt with hard stuff, but everybody has.”

If someone were to “Google” you today or ask your friend or boss about you, would they discover something different from what you want your brand to be? Be honest with yourself. When what you want your brand to be is inconsistent with the perceptions of others, the only person who has the power to change it is you. There is strength in knowing who you are and working every day to make it real.

credit: Fortune Magazine