Mixed-Use Housing Draws Urbanites While Neighborhoods Still Stand Strong

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On Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 16:42
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It’s been a long, hard road for Santa Cruz. After an earthquake devastated the downtown district in 1989, the city has worked steadily to rebuild from the rubble and fill in the holes. Nearly 20 years later, the final phase of redevelopment is drawing to a close. But in the new Santa Cruz that has emerged, a lot more than the concrete has changed. These towering new mixed-use buildings represent a new market of Santa Cruz homebuyers: the hip urbanites. This target audience is tired of sitting in traffic and weary of mowing the lawn, and they can afford to be. With price tags hovering around a cool $500,000, only serious buyers need apply. This trendy new development in Santa Cruz’s housing world isn’t so much about changing the demographics of the city as putting all the ingredients in a blender and pressing mix well. There have always been stores and office buildings and people. And all of those familiar elements are still part of the equation – now they’re just sharing an address. Pacific Garden Place is nearly 60 condos in five stories, sitting atop commercial space and parking lots. Another recent project is smaller, with ground floor retail space covering just 1,600 feet and space for four condos above. Meanwhile, as downtown has exploded into a live-work-play jungle gym, the outlying neighborhoods have also blossomed. Santa Cruz Neighbors is a city-wide organization representing a network of neighbors that keeps a big city still feeling like a small town. Throngs may be headed for parking garages and roof decks, but plenty more are happy right where they are. The beauty of living in Santa Cruz is having the options to make that decision for yourself.