Canyon Sands is a unique desert community dedicated to sustaining and enhancing a high quality of life.
- Operate with Integrity
- Enforce Governing Documents: CC&Rs, Rules & Regulations
- Manage Effectively using Professional Services
- Preserve Property Values by Maintaining Individual & Common Assets
- Consider Initiatives & Capital Improvements
- Deliver Clear & Timely Communications
- Foster a Strong Sense of Community
Canyon Sands occupies 42 acres and is located
at 4300 South Canyon Sands Drive on the corner of Gene Autry Trail and East Palm Canyon Drive in the Melody Ranch
neighborhood of Palm Springs. Melody Ranch was originally the name given by singing cowboy Gene Autry to the hotel he purchased in 1961, but now has grown to consist of that original hotel (now The Parker), the Seven Lakes Homeowners Association, the Oasis resort and the Canyon Sands Homeowners Association.
The complex is located within walking distance of stores, medical and veterinary offices and postal service. Canyon Sands is on Indian lease land. Each unit within the development is on its own individual lease. The leases have been extended to January 1, 2061.
The property is comprised of a total of 299 units of which 250 are two-bedroom units and 49 are three-bedroom units. The units feature seven individual floor plans that are mirrored depending on the letter. Each unit has primary and guest bath suites, a great room, a fireplace (originally wood-burning though many have been converted to natural gas), one or two private courtyards and atria and two-car attached garages. The units range in size from 1,155 to 1,404 square feet. Floor plans are provided as a courtesy for informational purposes and are not drawn to scale:
The community amenities include seven sets of pools and spa, two saunas, five championship tennis courts and three pickleball courts. Two of the tennis courts and all of the pickleball courts are lighted for night play. Several walkways and paths wind through the development. Sitting areas and landscaped pathways enhance the park-like feel of Canyon Sands. Recent improvements include the complete conversion of all seven pools from chlorine to salt water, solar heating, major desertscape conversion, complete complex rewiring of landscape lighting, repaving of interior roadways and resurfacing of flat roofs. Current projects include ongoing desertscape conversion and repaving of additional interior roadways. Owners are permitted, if they desire, to rent their units for a minimum of one-month.
Canyon Sands has always benefited from on-site management provided by Desert Management. Canyon Sands Homeowners Association has come to find the combination of on-site management and services is what is most successful. A good part of this success is the enthusiastic participation and involvement of the Board of Directors
and its committees
View an original map
of the Canyon Sands community.
Originally conceived as Canyon Sands Mobile Country Club
by Accent Enterprises, a subsidiary of Amfac, Inc. based in Hawaii, the project was transferred to Amfac Communities, Inc., another subsidiary, in 1972 and was developed and marketed as Canyon Sands Villas
. In the later phases of construction, villas was dropped from the name to arrive at the simplified Canyon Sands
. Construction began in 1972 and was completed in 1976.
Amfac completed two phases of construction with multiple sub-phases or "units." Phase I started with seventy-four two-bedroom units which sold out in sixty days. After a quick sell-out, the second set of seventy-five two-bedroom units were built. They, too, sold out in sixty days. A third set of seventy-eight units were then built beginning on April 20, 1973 which included a combination of two-bedroom layouts and introduced the first three-bedroom layout. Finally, ground broke on Phase II (the final phase of development) on November 2, 1974 with the remaining seventy-eight two- and three-bedroom units being built in sets of twenty-four homes. Phase II "interior floor plans [were] completely revamped to include the best features of Amfac communities throughout the west."
in the Desert Sun were instrumental in driving potential owners to the complex on weekend "mini home shows."
Sales slogans used by Amfac's marketing team throughout the various phases included:
- Privacy of Single Family Living in a Maintenance-Free Recreation-Filled Community
- Enjoy Single Family Privacy
- Because you have a Passion for Single-family Privacy . . . no shared walls in living areas at Canyon Sands
- No Shared Walls in Living Areas
- Canyon Sands has put interest rates on ice.
- Condo Clusters. Single-family privacy in a condominium design so unique, we've applied for a patent.
- The privacy of a home, the ease of a condominium.
- Canyon Sands: everything rich people take for granted.
- Close Us Out.
- Amfac presents its limited edition.
- From elegant to Elegante!
The kitchens were originally (Phase I) equipped with General Electric "Americana eye-level double oven range (master oven continuous cleaning), dishwasher and garbage disposer." Homes were available for purchase completely furnished with Jack Wojack of W & J Sloane decorating interior units in Phase I and The Furniture Center in Rancho Mirage responsible for Phase II interiors. In the mid-to-late 1970's, Amfac also offered potential homeowners the opportunity to finance their purchase through their mortgage lending subsidiary (at rates between 7.9% and 8.5%) or even a lease-to-purchase option.
The development was designed by award winning San Francisco architect Richard (Dick) Finnegan, AIBD
who developed the "cluster concept" where homes are grouped into units of six, forming a horseshoe-shaped "cluster" or "six-pack." The arrangement of the condo units in "clusters" around a central garage access area ensures that each family's living area is entirely separate. The only common walls between units are one of the garage walls. The outstanding design of the units (for which Finnegan patented a dwelling module [U.S. Patent No. 4,007,565] in the 1970s), is enhanced by a combination of desertscape and generous greenbelt. In fact, several landscape architects have planned the community including Michael Buccino Associates (Phase I) [of Palm Desert] and Dudley Trudgett
(Phase II), an internationally known architect who is widely recognized for his designs in the area surrounding India's famed Taj Mahal. Trudgett patterned the landscaping in Canyon Sands after the palace grounds in Rabat, Morocco.
Recreation and leisure activities have been part of the Canyon Sands community since inception. In fact, early in the development of the community, several tennis pros were appointed including Bill Lepper, Ron Wood, Matthew Kohn and R. David Colton. Originally, there was also a small circular putting green located in the middle of the complex.
Notable former Canyon Sands residents include:
- Arthur Steel, vice-president and general manager of Gene Autry Hotel company including the Ocotillo Lodge and the Melody Ranch [now the Parker Hotel], and his wife, Pamela Britton (actress), were the first homeowners, purchasing their home around December 8, 1972, one week after the complex's Grand Opening.
- Jim Wiechers, a PGA touring golf player and pro, purchased in 1974. Wiechers also owned another Amfac property in Napa, CA.
- Steve Riley, defensive lineman for the Minnesota Vikings, purchased in 1975.
- Dr. George Fischbeck, a television weatherman on Eyewitness News broadcasts for KABC-TV in Los Angeles.
- Ross Matthews, a television celebrity, purchased in 2018.
More than one hundred articles from the Desert Sun
about Canyon Sands from 1971 to 1977 have been archived
for historical purposes. Additional photos of the construction of Canyon Sands Villas from 1972 are available on the Palm Springs Historical Society website in the George Aquino Collection