Last updated: June 3, 2022

Project name: Library Mixed-Use Project

  • Location: The Downtown Farmers Market parking lot at Cedar and Cathcart streets.
  • Status: Approved by Santa Cruz City Council in June 2020. Construction could start in early 2023 and take two years. In May, the architect and project team presented new floor plans and cost estimates for the library. Meetings for public comment on the designs have not yet been scheduled, Santa Cruz city spokeswoman Elizabeth Smith said June 2.
  • Developer: Affordable housing developers: Eden Housing and For the Future of Housing Inc.  Owner’s representative: Griffin Structures will lead selection of the rest of the developer team.
  • Downtown Santa Cruz library updated plans May 10 2022
  • Downtown Santa Cruz Library updated plan
  • Downtown Santa Cruz Library updated plan
  • Downtown Santa Cruz Library updated plan
  • Downtown Santa Cruz Library updated plan

Updated site plans were released at a Santa Cruz City Council meeting. (Renderings by Jayson Architecture)

Santa Cruz downtown library

A sketch shows a mixed-use library, affordable housing, and parking garage planned at Cedar and Cathcart streets. (Jayson Architecture)

rendering of planned Downtown Santa Cruz library

A draft rendering of the mid-block Cedar Street entrance of the planned Downtown Santa Cruz library shows textured glass windows and a rooftop garden. (Jayson Architecture)

rendering of new Downtown Santa Cruz library

Another draft rendering of the Cedar Street entrance of the planned Downtown Santa Cruz library shows housing above and behind the rooftop garden. (Jayson Architecture)

A city parking lot stands at the corner of Cedar and Cathcart streets in Santa Cruz. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local file)

Downtown Santa Cruz Library updated rendering lobby

A rendering shows an interior design of a new downtown library. Find more renderings here and here. (Jayson Architecture)

Project description

  • Details: The library project includes 100 to 125 affordable housing units and a garage. Updated plans have expanded the library from 35,000 to 38,000 square feet, said Santa Cruz Economic Development Director Bonnie Lipscomb. The plans include:
    • A living roof planted with native grasses.
    • Rooftop solar panels that will generate as much energy as the building uses.
    • A children’s section and daycare.
    • A roof deck for library patrons and events.
  • Farmers Market location: City leaders will resume discussions to permanently move the farmers market to another location, possibly a parking lot at Front and Cathcart streets.
  • Existing library site: City leaders have begun a public process to consider options for the existing library at 224 Church St. Based on public feedback, a consultant team recommended:
    • Affordable housing
    • Community-oriented (not commercial) ground-floor options
    • A civic plaza or park focused on daily uses for downtown residents, such as a dog park
    • Potential to host the downtown farmers market

Our Downtown Our Future

The group Our Downtown Our Future is promoting a city ballot measure in November 2022 that would halt the library, garage and housing project. The group instead wants to renovate the current Downtown Santa Cruz library on Church Street. The group has said the farmers market should not be displaced. Farmers market leaders have said they are not opposed to a new location. 

Opponents of the planned library complex envision a public square where the city parking lot stands at Cathcart and Cedar streets.

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How to make your voice heard: Submit comments and questions to the city’s Economic Development Director Bonnie Lipscomb [email protected]

Read about other notable housing and construction projects in Santa Cruz County.