A rendering of the Pacific Station North development, which will include a Metro bus terminal.
(City of Santa Cruz)
Development

New design for ‘Pac Station North’ unveiled as Warriors outline vision for ‘do-it-all’ arena

Santa Cruz planners on Tuesday unveiled a new design for Pacific Station North, one half of a major, mixed-use development the city is planning for lower Pacific Avenue in and around the site of the existing Metro bus hub.

Together, Pacific Station North and South will occupy more than two acres of land near the San Lorenzo River, according to Jessica de Wit, Housing & Community Development Division Manager for the city.

De Wit unveiled the new design for “Pac Station North” during a Zoom event hosted by The Downtown Association of Santa Cruz to publicize progress on several new projects aimed at bringing more residents, retail and restaurants to Downtown.

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Santa Cruz and Metro working together on Pac Station North, which will be 100% affordable rental units with mixed-use on the first two levels and a bus tarmac on the Front Street side of the development. The ground floor on the Pacific Avenue side of the building will have retail space, including a café where Maple Alley connects to Pacific Avenue.

Developers on both Pacific Station phases will work together to upgrade Maple Alley, which runs between the two projects toward the San Lorenzo River, de Wit said. Maple Alley will be widened and improved so it’s more comfortable for bicyclists and pedestrians.

A rendering of the mixed-use Pacific Station North development.
A rendering of the mixed-use Pacific Station North development.
(Courtesy city of Santa Cruz)

De Wit said Santa Cruz hopes to make Pacific Station North as “green” as possible, in order to get platinum LEED certification, a designation the recognizes energy-efficient and environmentally conscious buildings. As part of that effort, the city is planning a 1.5-megawatt solar panel system that will generate even more solar power than Pacific Station North needs, meaning that energy source could be used by nearby buildings, too.

Pacific Station South will be similarly mixed-use, but with the addition of a clinic space on the first and second floors, along with some other retail. The city has spoken to Santa Cruz Community Health Centers and Dientes dental clinic about taking over the clinic space, according to de Wit.

The top five floors of the building will be made up of 85 affordable apartments — a mix of studios, one-bedroom units and two-bedroom units, although the city might add in three-bedroom units.

A rendering of Pacific Station South shows an upgraded Maple Alley.
A rendering of Pacific Station South shows an upgraded Maple Alley. Together, the pair of Pacific Station developments will take up more than two acres near the San Lorenzo River.
(Courtesy city of Santa Cruz)

New home for the Warriors?

A permanent arena for the Santa Cruz Warriors is finally in the works but is still in the early stages, according to team owner Chris Murphy, who shared his vision for the project in the Downtown Association meeting.

Murphy said the goal is to create a mixed-use development that is “primarily” privately funded and includes housing, community space, retail and perhaps commercial space, in addition to a new arena that would replace the Kaiser Permanente Arena.

All of those features would sit on the same site as the temporary Arena on Front Street, though the Warriors are in discussions about acquiring land next door as well, Murphy said.

“We envision a project that definitely engages the river,” he said.

The site would be “for much more than Warriors games,” Murphy told the group of developers, former and current city leaders and community members. When it’s not being filled by fans of the G-League franchise, the new arena would serve as a venue for attractions such as concerts, comedy shows, regional sports tournaments, UCSC events and even symphony performances.

“A do-it-all arena,” Murphy said.

The project is in its early stages, but would fit into a larger array of new development headed for lower Pacific, near the San Lorenzo Riverfront.