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Mixed Use Library Project

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The City of Santa Cruz is currently exploring the development of a new Library Mixed Use Project at the current site of parking lot 4 at the corners of Cedar Street, Lincoln Street, and Cathcart Street. This website is a portal for information about the project and will be updated with important details about community outreach events, meeting dates, and council reports. 

Recent City Council Action 

On September 11th, 2018 the City Council voted to:

1. Accept the Downtown Library Advisory Committee recommendations for a new library space program and mixed-use Library Project and direct staff to move forward with the design and development of the project including affordable housing, commercial, and parking uses on the City-owned surface parking lot between Lincoln, Cedar and Cathcart streets (lot 4);
2. Authorization to proceed with selection of an owner’s representative to manage overall project implementation and a competitive RFP/RFQ process for selection of a Design-Build project team;
3. Introduce an ordinance of the City of Santa Cruz amending Chapter 10.52 regarding parking meter rates;
4. Resolution amending parking and permit rates for Downtown parking lots and structures;
5. Direct staff to work with the Downtown Commission to update the current parking resolution for a five-year phase out of deficiency fees;
6. Direct staff to work with selected owner’s representative and Design-Build team to initiate a community outreach process on project design and to return to Council with preliminary project design options for consideration;
7. Direct the City Manager to initiate an analysis with a land planning organization of needs, options, costs and opportunities for reuse of the existing City library site and nearby City facilities in the context of the broader downtown vision.

Read the Staff Report Here.

Timeline & Next Steps 


Interested in getting involved with the next steps?

Fill out this form to receive emails about upcoming events and engagement opportunities related to this project.

Mixed Use Library Project

Updated on 07/13/2018 4:13 PM


On December 6th, 2016 City Council directed staff to

  1. Form a Downtown Library Advisory committee to determine the best path forward for the Downtown Library
  2. Develop recommendations regarding the development of a new permanent site for the Downtown Farmers’ Market;
  3. Develop a parking rates matrix for funding the parking portion of a potential project

On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, the Downtown Library Advisory Committee (DLAC) unanimously voted to recommend Option B, relocating the Downtown Branch Library to a mixed-use project on Cedar, Lincoln, and Cathcart Streets. DLAC had to balance the needs of a 21st century library with the costs of an appropriate facility. The projected cost of this facility is $26.7 million.

In its final report, DLAC wrote: Committee members agree that Option B gives the Downtown Branch Library the desired square footage balanced with a fiscally responsible price. The mixed-use building has the potential to be a beautiful and vibrant asset to the community, allowing for new programs and spaces that could increase library usage across all age groups and demographics.

Read the Final Report here.

Recent Action:

June 12th Study Session

Council received an overview presentation on

  1. creating and reinvesting in our community spaces, like a new, modern library with the space, technology and amenities requested by community members and library patrons during

  2. the facilities master planning process and the subsequent strategic planning process;

  3. consolidating surface public parking lots to create more opportunities for higher and better uses including workforce and affordable housing development;

  4. facilitating the Council Strategic Plan of entitling 500-600 new workforce, affordable and market rate housing units in the downtown; and

  5. establishing a permanent, dedicated home for the Downtown Farmers’ Market with four season functionality and appropriate amenities on a site best suited for its use.

Read the Staff Report

Watch the Council Study Session

June 19th Study Session 

Council received presentations on

  1. Report and recommendation of the Downtown Library Advisory Committee (DLAC)

  2. Proposed Downtown Parking Rate Strategy

Read the Staff Report

Read the Downtown Commission Agenda Report on Parking Fees and Rates

Read the DLAC Report

Watch the Council Study Session


Our Changing Downtown

Our Downtown is always changing. Numerous recent improvements and positive trends are changing Downtown Santa Cruz for the better.

A few recent examples include:


The Downtown Library Mixed-Use project would build on the trend of increasing vitality in the downtown area. Central to the project is a focus on smart growth planning principles that are aligned with the City’s commitment to addressing climate change. The project will serve as a catalyst for important downtown improvements led by: