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Company presents plans for Indian Cove Resort

Hi-Desert Star, November 8, 2023

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TWENTYNINE PALMS — Executives and public-relations contractors from the hotel company Yonder presented their plans for an Indian Cove resort to a full room of locals at the Elks Lodge Nov. 1.


Luke Searcy, director of acquisitions and asset management, said the company is in the early stages of planning the project. The city confirmed it has not received any applications yet.


Searcy said they would limit the project to “the necessary footprint.”


Yonder has 152 acres between Twentynine Palms Highway to the north, Sullivan Road to the south, Shoshone Valley Drive to the east and an extension of Lear Avenue to the west.


Searcy said the company would not have to apply to rezone the property; however, the city zoning map shows that land is designated for residential development with a maximum of one unit per 2.5 acres. A resort or hotel would have to apply for rezoning to be allowed in this area.


Searcy said they plan to apply for a conditional use permit next year and open in 2026.


Yonder is looking to build 130 separate 320-square-foot cabins, accommodating a maximum of four people each. The roofs would have solar panels.


“All in all, we’re really excited about these units,” Searcy said. “We think they look sharp and blend in, but we would love to hear y’all’s feedback.”


The property would have a 3,500-square-foot main lodge with pool and hot tub and a 2,000-square-foot secondary lodge with another pool.


Both lodges would have “soft background music” playing from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Searcy said.


The property would also have a stargazing area and an outdoor movie screen showing films at night. The sound for the movies would be transmitted to viewers’ individual devices and wouldn’t be audible to others in the area, he said.


Searcy told the locals Yonder plans to use lighting with fixtures to prevent light pollution.


“We strive to be a good neighbor. What a good neighbor looks like is making sure there is no noise and light pollution coming from our property and bothering those nearby,” he said.


The tallest building, he said, would be the lodge or the movie screen at around 16 feet tall.


Searcy assured Indian Cove residents that the company would leave buffers of 500 to 700 feet between the hotel property and homes.


He showed an artist’s rendering depicting what the cabins will look like from Old Dale Drive. “Right in front of my home,” a man remarked from the audience. “We’ll be talking about that.”


He also said talked about financial benefits to the community.


Searcy said about 50-60 “sustainable jobs” will be created through the on-site operations; employees will be able to use housing provided by Yonder so they don’t take units from the local housing market.


“Making sure we’re providing employee housing alleviates that additional pressure that we would be putting on the market,” Searcy said.


Yonder intends to charge a fee to each guest, then give the money to a nonprofit partner that supports conservation and preservation of Joshua Tree National Park. Searcy said the company expects to donate about $250,000 per year from this fee.


He said people staying a unit at a Yonder property spend an average of $209 per day in local restaurants and stores, generating over $4 million annually.


Searcy also estimated the resort will create over $850,000 in property and hotel taxes for the city government.


Several people in the audience were expecting to be allowed to rise and ask questions or make statements after Searcy’s presentation, but he announced that wouldn’t happen.


“No, we want to divide and conquer,” he said.


Indian Cove resident John Vigar called out that he has a horse ranch on Old Dale Road, abutting the proposed resort and he had questions. Searcy did not acknowledge him. “Let’s enjoy some refreshments,” he said, moving to the back of the room. There, executives from Yonder and public-relations contractors were stationed with a map of the property, along with cookies and drinks.

There was muttering from the audience and for a few minutes, everyone stayed seated. One person speculated that if they refused to go to the back, Searcy would have to return to take questions.


However, eventually people started migrating to the back of the room, talking to the company representatives and clustering around the map.


Some of the locals said the plans were promising.


“The alternative could be that a developer comes in, puts a grid on the land and builds a subdivision with no respect for the contours of the land,” said Pat Keppner. She and her sister, Chris Tiffany, attended the meeting together.


“It was a good meeting,” Tiffany said. “They have to do a lot of groundwork.”


In a later email to The Desert Trail, Josh Zipperman with the public relations firm Burke Rix Communications, contracted by Yonder, said the company would like to hear more from the community.


People may email Searcy at luke.searcy@yonderhospitality.com to share thoughts and questions.


Yonder Hospitality


Yonder Hospitality is proposing to build a 130-cabin resort southeast of Twentynine Palms Highway and Lear Avenue in Indian Cove. Public relations firm Burke Rix provided this information about the company.


• Yonder Hospitality is headquartered in Texas and was created by Charles Tate in 2021. Tate is a former managing director at Morgan Stanley and founder of a private credit firm, CR Group LP, and a wholesale plant nursery, Newton Nurseries.

• The company’s first resort, Yonder Escalante, open in April 2021 in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah.

• Yonder is pursuing a second resort project in Townsend, Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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