Mickey Mouse back into residential development with Coachella Valley plan

Disney Co. “imagineers” at work on community with hotel, retail around lagoon in Rancho Mirage

Coachella Valley (Disney, iStock, Illustration by Shea Monahan for the Real Deal)
Coachella Valley (Disney, iStock, Illustration by Shea Monahan for the Real Deal)

The Disney Co. plans to return to residential real estate development with a project in Rancho Mirage.

The Burbank-based entertainment and media conglomerate has started a new division called Storyliving by Disney, with a team of “Imagineers” in place to design new communities, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Its first community is set for Rancho Mirage, near Palm Springs, and will be called Cotino. It is being developed in collaboration with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based DMB Development, and expected to include estates, single-family homes and condominiums surrounding a 24-acre lagoon.

Disney did not disclose further details of the project, which still requires approvals from local authorities, or its cost.

One section of Cotino would be reserved for residents 55 and older.

Residents would be offered memberships that provide access to a waterfront clubhouse, a club-only beach area and recreational water activities, as well as Disney programming, entertainment and activities throughout the year, according to the newspaper.

Plans also call for a mixed-use district to include shopping, dining and entertainment venues in addition to a beachfront hotel and a beach park with recreational activities accessible with a day pass.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

By signing up, you agree to TheRealDeal Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Disney said it is considering other locations across the U.S. for future development.
The company has found success beyond its theme-park business, such as its cruise line business, and looks to build on that by developing residential communities, Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in a promotional video.

“While we’re known most for our theme-park experiences, we’ve built an incredible legacy of going beyond the parks,” he said.

Disney has long sold luxury vacation homes through its 980-acre Golden Oak gated community in Florida.

In the 1990s, it developed a 5,000-acre residential community in Florida known as Celebration, near Walt Disney World in Orlando. The project featured architecture by Michael Graves and Robert A.M. Stern, who had designed buildings for the company’s theme parks and corporate campuses.

Disney later divested most of its interest in Celebration.

[WSJ] – Dana Bartholomew

Read more