Goal: To attract and retain businesses and jobs
A New Era for the Sentinel Building
When the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper moved out of downtown in 2007, the city lost more than a 150-yearold community landmark. The move cost Santa Cruz dozens of jobs, and left a large, vacant building on a key block of downtown.
But the loss of one historic local business has resulted in a once-in-a-generation opportunity for three other homegrown companies, and a turning point for the City of Santa Cruz. A partnership between Cruzio Internet, Ecology Action and developer Joe Appenrodt, with focused support from the City of Santa Cruz, has transformed the Sentinel Building from an obsolete industrial site into a light drenched hub of high-tech communications and green development.
Since the partners bought the Sentinel Building at auction in 2009, the City has worked aggressively to speed the renovation, leveraging nearly $7 million in low-cost loans to boost local employment and infrastructure improvements at the site.
“The city was just great,” said Cruzio co-founder Peggy Dolgenos. “They helped us get a ($2.75 million) bond from the Obama administration’s stimulus package. It’s a loan, but we got a good rate which allowed us to do more. We hired more people, trained more people, and improved the facilities.”
The renovation re-used as much of the old building as possible, minimizing environmental impacts with rainwater catchment, solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, and other earth-friendly measures prized by city residents.
The new building, now referred to as 877 Cedar, has transformed downtown in both symbolic and concrete ways. A site once dedicated to printing newspapers and delivering them by hand, is now home to servers that distribute information using beams of light. And a workspace that served a single company is now a co-working space, allowing innovators from different fields to mingle and collaborate.
Economic benefits have spilled over to other businesses in the community. Cruzio’s brand-new data center and ultra-high-speed fiber-optic cable provide Internet access previously available only to researchers at UC Santa Cruz. And a greatly increased workforce at 877 Cedar is boosting downtown retail and restaurants.