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Work to Start on Cathedral City's Pickfair

Redevelopment: 18 screens and 30,000 square feet of retail space are included in the first phase.


Construction will begin in June on Pickfair, a $13-million retail center and theater complex that is part of a community redevelopment project in Cathedral City.

The 70,000-square-foot, 18-screen theater complex and the 30,000-square-foot retail space are the first phase of private development in a $54-million revitalization effort funded by private and public backing.

Designed by MCG Architects of Beverly Hills, the North America Cinemas complex will feature a small museum on the career of film star Mary Pickford. The first phase is scheduled for completion in January 1999.

The $27-million second phase is scheduled to be finished by November 1999. It will include 20,000 square feet of office space, 170,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and a 100-room hotel.

Pickfair Partners--a joint venture of Ventura Pacific Capital of Moorpark and Selleck Properties and David A. Ghiradelli Inc., both of Westlake Village--is the developer.

Construction is already underway on a $13-million Civic Center that will house a new City Hall and police station. It is set to open in June. A nearby park will feature a $500,000 interactive water feature, where children can sit in a tiled grotto.

The fountain is being paid for in part by a donation from actor and local resident Buddy Rogers.

Pickfair, named after the estate once owned by the late Mary Pickford, who was Rogers' wife, is designed in a 1930s mission motif, according to MCG senior designer Mark Tweed.

Also slated for downtown is a $5.6-million, 274-seat IMAX theater and a $2.1-million, 20,000-square-foot UC Riverside extension. Cathedral City-based developer Entertainment Leaders Inc. plans to finish the IMAX theater by November 1998 and the nearby campus extension by January 1999.

Traffic on the main thoroughfare, East Palm Canyon Drive, has been detoured for five months while the street was torn up and repaved.

"We've razed downtown rather than rehabilitated it," said city spokeswoman Julie Baumer of the real estate make-over.

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