Master architect unveils preliminary design for mixed-use library project – Santa Cruz Sentinel


SANTA CRUZ – Santa Cruz has entered the final quarter of the timeline of a library and affordable housing project in development since 2012.

Library Mixed-Use master architect Jayson Architecture unveiled the building’s preliminary design. The project includes a new library to replace the existing downtown library, affordable housing, a parking garage and retail space.

“In our professional opinion, this is a really excellent use of these four types of programs. They have great synergy with each other, ”said Katie Stuart, Associate Project Manager. “We see them working well together.”

The library itself is expected to be between 30,000 and 35,000 square feet. However, Stuart believes the architectural firm will be able to achieve the larger of the two options.

The downtown branch will serve as the facade for the structure and will have large windows to let in natural light from all angles. It will be two floors, with a mezzanine and will focus on open spaces throughout the structure.

It will also include a rooftop balcony on the south side of the library, above the retail space. The roof terrace is intended to be used as an office or workspace. Alternatively, it could be used for story time for kids or for author readings, said Abe Jayson, principal architect at Jayson Architecture.

“We see this as spaces where potentially on a nice day a group of teens who want to do their homework or a small business start-up where it’s too good to be inside, they’re going to have their reunion at the. outside or in those small rooms for two to six people, ”Jayson said.

The garage is provided behind the library, with direct access to the facility. The garage has a capacity of 300 to 315 cars, which is less than the 400 parking spaces initially planned.

The garage is also designed with flat parking lots rather than a sloping garage. It was designed that way so that it could be reused for other uses if the need for the garage wanes over the years, noted Stuart.

At the southwest corner of the building are two floors of retail space, which will occupy between 7,000 and 9,000 square feet. The retail corner will include 1,800 to 2,500 square feet of dedicated child care space, to include an outdoor play area.

The last element of the building is the housing element. The housing in this project is intended to be 100% affordable for very low income and very low income families. This designation means that housing will be limited to 50% of the region’s median income or less, and in some cases to 30% or less.

The median income for the area in Santa Cruz County is $ 111,900, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Thus, very low income housing is offered to those earning less than $ 55,450 per year and very low income housing is available to those earning $ 33,300 per year.

The housing element is offered over five floors, above a three-level parking garage, according to the design renderings. The accommodation is set back from the library to create more window space and create more privacy for residents, noted Stuart.

“You can see this civic presence of the library as the vanguard of this project, the most important thing and the housing really serving as a gracious backdrop to the civic building,” Jayson said.

This housing element has also changed from the original concept of the project. It is proposed to have between 100 and 125 affordable units, two to two and a half times more than the 50 units initially proposed.

They will vary from studios to three bedroom apartments. Studios and one-bedroom apartments will be the most abundant at 50-65 units. Two and three bedroom apartments will consist of between 25 and 30 units for each apartment size.

“We’re hoping to get the height approval from city council so that we can actually get 125 units,” said Economic Development Director Bonnie Lipscomb. “This is our goal.”

The project will be submitted to city council for approval on Tuesday. From there, the design and engineering phase is expected to end in mid-2022. Construction is expected to take place in late 2024, according to a project schedule presented on Friday.


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