Disney is building residential neighborhoods in the storyliving project


Los Angeles (CNN) — The Disney company on Wednesday announced plans to create several residential neighborhoods across the United States, with groundbreaking expected this year in Rancho Mirage, California.

A Disney spokesman told CNN that “Cotino,” the first project in its Storyliving by Disney project, will have about 1,900 residential units of different types on the 618-acre lot.

Prices were not disclosed, although the spokesman said home prices are set by the homebuilder taking into account market conditions.

The property outside of Palm Springs is being developed with Arizona-based DMB Associates.

In addition to planning condos and single-family homes, Disney plans to open a mixed-use neighborhood with shopping, dining, entertainment, a hotel and a beachfront park to the public. Certain neighborhoods are designated for residents aged 55 and over.

This depiction shows the proposed “town center” of Cotino, where shopping and dining options are planned.

Story life of Disney

Disney employees, whom the company calls “cast members,” will manage the properties and curate programming and experiences for residents.

But you won’t find Mickey Mouse here. And there are no planned discounts or perks related to Disney theme parks or products. Instead, residents find waterside recreation, cooking classes, wellness seminars, or philanthropic projects.

All of this, of course, comes with a premium. Residents would pay a homeowners association dues as well as a voluntary club membership dues, prices for which were not disclosed.

Other Disney residential developments

The Company has previously created masterplanned residential communities: a community in Celebration, Fla. that the Company sold to a third party; and Golden Oak on the Walt Disney World property, which the company still operates.

In Golden Oak, single-family homes cater to Disney fans who want close access to Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney sold the Celebration development in 2004. Some residents later fought with the new owner over certain units and buildings falling into disrepair.

But a Disney spokesman told CNN these storyliving communities will be a complete departure from those previous projects.

She said they have no intention of selling, as happened with Celebration. And while Golden Oak may appeal to the amusement park fan, the storyliving developments are intended for fans looking for the Disney approach to detail and experiences that translate into everyday life.

A 24-acre oasis with a professionally managed beachfront park with water activities is part of the Cotino proposal.

A 24-acre oasis with a professionally managed beachfront park with water activities is part of the Cotino proposal.

Story Life of Disney

This is the first time Disney has attempted to create multiple neighborhoods across the country. Disney Imagineers, known for their creativity in building immersive theme parks, will design the neighborhoods to evoke the history and nature of each individual location.

“You can see and feel why Walt Disney himself fled to the desert earlier,” Michael Hundgen, executive producer of Walt Disney Imagineering, said in a video about the new project outside of Palm Springs, an area that Disney’s founders love gladly visited.

Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in a videotaped statement that the Disney Company has been known for strong storytelling for nearly 100 years.

“As we prepare to enter the second century, we are developing new and exciting ways to bring the magic of Disney storytelling to people, wherever they are,” said D’Amaro.

Image above: An aerial view of Cotino, a proposed residential community by Storyliving by Disney in Rancho Mirage, California (Storyliving by Disney)


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