On July 17, 2009 PSPF wrote a letter to the Palm Springs city council supporting the Class 1 designation of the Oasis Commercial Building (1951), a modernist architectural gem designed by architect E. Stewart Williams. Additionally, PSPF worked with the Palm Springs Modern Committee to develop a “Consolidated Preservation Position,” which explained the importance of a Class 1 designation and pledged to work with the building owner to facilitate future sympathetic changes to the building.
On November 4, 2009 the Palm Springs city council voted 4-1 to bestow Class 1 historic status, “with modifications,” on the Oasis Commercial Building. Unfortunately, the terms of city council’s anemic designation allows the building owner (who has a track record of poor stewardship of the building) to sidestep Historic Site Preservation Board review of certain changes to the first floor of the building.
Due to our concerns about the unwise policy precedent set by the Palm Springs city council, and the potential for future abuse of this important historic resource, we have placed the Oasis Commercial Building on our “Buildings to Watch” page. We will continue to work to convince a future city council to grant full Class 1 historic site designation to this important building.
A brief description of the Oasis Commercial Building can be found on page 20 of our on-line Class 1 booklet.