JM Brown | Santa Cruz Sentinel

Plans are underway to completely rebuild the Metro Center on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. (Dan Coyro -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Plans are underway to completely rebuild the Metro Center on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. (Dan Coyro — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

In what could be the most significant development downtown in recent years, two projects look to revitalize a large portion of Pacific Avenue’s south end by improving and expanding public transit, adding much-needed affordable housing and parking, and building connections with the Riverwalk and beach area.

Separate projects by Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District and developer Owen Lawlor could stretch from just south of Cathcart Street to Laurel Street, with the two buildings fronting Pacific Avenue and reaching as far back as to the parallel Front Street, on the other side of which is the San Lorenzo River.

Depending on how the projects progress, they may require the acquisition of private and public parcels, as well as zoning changes to build as high as 75 feet, about six stories, on Pacific Avenue. The buildings could step back on the Front Street side to lower the overall height. Read more