Palm Springs Is Hot. The Old Guard Is Hot Under the Collar.
Mr. Tomlin eventually bought and renovated two condos, which he leases to long-term renters, and a house, which he updated and rents to short-term vacationers. He also bought and renovated another house to live in full time, managing his properties and producing freelance projects.
Tim Brinkman, a tech investor from San Francisco who vacations here regularly with his family, is another relatively new player in the changing landscape. In 2012, he and a partner paid $2.2 million in cash for an abandoned building that once housed the original Don the Beachcomber Polynesian restaurant. They invested $5.5 million in renovations, creating a hub of the flourishing Uptown Design District that now includes a popular coffee shop, tiki bar, restaurant and a few design shops and galleries. The rear of the complex was rebranded as the Twist and consists of 35 apartments, 18 with long-term tenants and 17 as furnished vacation rentals. If his rental permits are canceled or curtailed, “I will sue the city,” said Mr. Brinkman, who also owns several homes — including one formerly owned by Elvis Presley — and other buildings here.
Jerry Keller, a well-known resident and the owner of an establishment restaurant, Lulu California Bistro, who helped broker an agreement among representatives from the Council, hotel industry and rental management companies about limits on short-term rentals, said: “There is so much anger and frustration. We got everyone to agree to something no one was happy with.”
An ordinance based on this agreement was passed at a public hearing on the evening before the Modernism Week opening party, pending approval of the planning commission, but the mayor voted against immediately enacting it, resulting in confusion about compliance. (A lawyer representing a community group opposed to vacation rentals sent a letter to the city on Thursday threatening litigation unless there was an immediate “moratorium on new vacation rentals” permits.)
Palm Springs is not alone, Mr. Moon pointed out at the modernism party, in dapper dress and circulating among constituents. “Paris is having the same problem,” he said. (Also Austin, Tex., and Naples, Fla., among many other cities.)
“I’m not a fan” of the short-term market, he said. “It has a negative impact on the feeling of the neighborhood. People would fall in love with Palm Springs and buy a house and rent it out to help pay the mortgage. Then wealthy people started buying more houses and never having the intention of using it as a second home.”
Ten percent of the homes in Palm Springs are now used as short-term rentals, Mr. Moon said. This past December, the cost of a short-term rental permit climbed to $900 a year from $225. “Tourism is very important,” he said, “but my first priority is to residents.” He acknowledged that regulation might negatively affect the value of homes, because potential buyers will know there are limits on how they can use the property, but, he added, “we don’t want to do nothing.”
About a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, this city has long been a glamorous retreat for Hollywood stars, executives and wealthy retirees. But since 2007, when the AMC series “Mad Men” started more broadly popularizing midcentury modern design and Coachella expanded into a three-day bacchanal, there has been a surge of interest in the area, whose local airport is now served by direct JetBlue and Virgin America flights from New York.
“What created the resurgence of Palm Springs is it became accessible,” said Tara Lazar, a lifelong resident who bought and renovated the Alcazar Palm Springs hotel in 2009 and now owns and operates three local restaurants and a bar called Seymour’s.
“It was always for the elite and the wealthy,” Ms. Lazar said, “and then all of a sudden, other people could afford to come and stay. There is now a middle market. We have young people in Palm Springs, and that hasn’t happened in more than 20 years.”
A few of those whippersnappers were sipping cocktails at a party on the second evening of Modernism Week. “Millennials are looking for places with income suites,” said Bobby Berk, a home design entrepreneur, “because they sort of came of age through the crash of 2008, and they want to know that even if you lose your job, your home can still work for you.”
Mr. Berk was chatting with Jaime Derringer, the founder and editor of Design Milk, a blog with an Instagram following of 1.5 million. “This is the Instagram generation and it wants an experience associated with an area,” Ms. Derringer said, “and in Palm Springs, that means the desert, the sun, the palm trees, the midcentury house. You want to stay places that are Instagram-worthy because you are living your life as content.”
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