In 2016, Merlone Geier Partners purchased the Capitola Mall from its previous owner, Macerich and has begun to envision a new plan for the space. In a recent town meeting, plans for the re-envisioned Capitola Mall were discussed. 

The focus of this meeting was to present the plan for the “Capitola Town Square,” as well as to provide an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions and have their voices and opinions heard. 

While the final plans are still being formulated, once started, Capitola Mall’s redevelopment is expected to take around five years. The current plan includes a proposal of 630 residential spaces, new restaurants, entertainment options, and a change of location for the Santa Cruz METRO station. There has also been talk of adding a hotel to the plan.

The residential spaces being proposed are one or two bedroom studios for rent. These residential spaces will first be built above retail businesses and later will be added to the ground level of the building plans. In terms of the building plans discussed in the June meeting, it was said that the units would reach a height of 60 to 65 feet, which currently surpasses zoning limits of 40 feet, though exceptions are made for building plans that serve a community purpose.

Although the building plans for this new town square are still in their initial phases, there is discussion of the residential units serving the senior population or becoming a housing community for creative-minded individuals. These proposals offer a vision of a town center geared towards community building, the arts, cultural events, and potentially helping improve housing pressures in this area. 

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