A senior housing project is planned at the former Gateway School near Pelton Avenue and West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. (Oppidan Investment Co.)

Last updated: Feb. 23, 2022

Project name: Watermark at Santa Cruz senior housing project

Location: 126 Eucalyptus Ave.

126 Eucalyptus Ave. in Santa Cruz is the former site of Gateway School.


  • Construction is expected to start in the first three months of 2024, said Mary Prevost, a spokeswoman for Oppidan Investment Co. 
  • On Feb. 10, 2023, the California Coastal Commission denied an appeal that had blocked construction. The commission voted 9-0 that there was “no substantial issue” brought by the appeal, so there will be no formal Coastal Commission hearing, said Coastal Commission spokesperson Noaki Schwartz.
  • The Santa Cruz Planning Commission approved the project in October 2022. The project did not require Santa Cruz City Council approval, said Santa Cruz Senior Planner Clara Stanger.


The developer is Oppidan Investment Co. It is a national property development firm headquartered in Minnesota with offices in California and North Carolina. The company focuses on senior housing, industrial and mixed-use developments, according to its website.

Project description

  • Total units: 76 senior housing units, including 13 full dwelling units with kitchens. It includes “memory care” units and assisted living units with 97 beds in all, according to a city staff report.
  • Affordable units: Project leaders proposed to build two units affordable to “low-income” households based on area median income. At an Oct. 6 Santa Cruz Planning Commission meeting, Commissioner Andy Schiffrin pointed to city code that he said showed that 15% of the 59 assisted living units should be made affordable. The commission voted 3-2 to approve the project with the 15% affordability requirement. Stanger, the senior planner, said the change meant that nine affordable units would be built rather than the original two affordable units. “The inclusionary (affordable) units would be a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units comparable to the mix of units in the project,” Stanger wrote in an email to Santa Cruz Local.
  • Height: The project would be two stories, or about 30 feet high.
  • Other details: Two former school buildings are expected to be demolished. Six heritage trees would be removed.
A rending of the proposed senior housing project at 126 Eucalyptus Ave. in Santa Cruz shows white buildings with some trees in front.

A rendering of the proposed senior housing complex at 126 Eucalyptus Ave. in Santa Cruz. (Oppidan Investment Co.)

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