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COTINO, by Disney in Rancho Mirage, CA

Recently, by good fortune I was invited to a special presentation of the new Disney development in Rancho Mirage called Cotino. This Chamber of Commerce luncheon included a full slide presentation of the concept, goals, and current state of affairs.

As the first full-scale housing community for Disney, it's not outside of their expertise. They have created built environments since the opening of Disneyland in Anaheim more than 65 years ago. In fact, they have successfully brought imagination to life time and again on the big screen, little screen, online, and in-person with cruises, hotels, time-shares, theme parks, retail stores, and restaurants. You may not like what they do, but you cannot argue with their singular vision and skill as brought forward by the Walt Disney Imaginarium division.

Designed as a robust experience centered on life for the whole family, the approximately 24-acre, gated project aims to embody a modern village complete with dining, entertainment, recreation, shopping, a hotel, and housing. It is living, not just visiting, curation on a grande scale.

Living in this sort of environment may not be your cup of tea, but based on the research and the models, there is a vast consumer base with the interest and resources that do. Expect homes in this unique lifestyle opportunity to sell rapidly, regardless of the economy. (Just consider the prices of tickets to Disneyland and the wait to buy them for a window into what I mean.)

Here are some of the interesting specifics discussed during the formal PowerPoint presentation:

  • The construction is being handled by D.M.B. Construction, Inc.

  • Disney will operate the club services perpetually; the club will be voluntary.

  • Disney will offer signature events, such as special chefs brought onsite for cooking classes and demonstrations. These will be offered at-large, so club membership is not required.

  • There will be a community garden, though the details were not clear. This was characterized as a food/vegetable garden.

  • The word Cotino is a derivative of the latin name for the smoke tree, a native to The Coachella Valley.

  • The sales office should open in 2023 with the first residents moving into homes in 2024.

Homes will include single-family dwellings and single-level, as well as townhouse style, condominiums. These dwellings will be of varying sizes and some designed for multi-generation living. This is truly unique in our desert on a scale of this sort!

The architectural styles will vary in an effort to represent different eras. Execution of this will be critical. It could read as an organic evolution of a “town” over time, or as if you’re walking down Disneyland’s Main Street. Charming, but obviously fabricated.

As a side note, I found it fascinating the number of times sustainability was mentioned. Newly built homes in California must either come equipped with solar panels or ready for them. This is true for Cotino. However, the speakers emphasized several goals with the overall project. I appreciated this commitment, but there were few details on how they planned to achieved such nobility. Other local developers rarely discuss this as part of their intent. I’ll be interested to see how Disney ultimately defines what they mean by sustainability.

Overall, I’m excited by this project. It’s located on the last large, contiguous parcel in The Coachella Valley where a housing development of this sort might do well. So ideal is the location that Walter and Leonore Annenberg built their beloved Sunnylands Estate on the adjacent 200 acres in 1966.

If you’re curious about a home within Cotino, please consider contacting me or your preferred REALTOR®. You’re entitled to have buyer representation with any new development. Otherwise, although it may present as a retail experience as you signup on the website or walk into the sales office, it’s not. The developer’s sales agents represent the developer. And once you go the first time or signup for more information, you’re stuck. You can still hire an agent, which I believe you should do, but the seller will not compensate your agent as is generally the case in most real estate transactions.

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