Another week goes by…

Seb FreySanta Cruz Real Estate

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It’s had to believe it’s been a week since my last blog entry! I find blogging to be a pretty valuable investment of my time; it makes me stop and think, which can sometimes be hard to do in this mad, mad world of ours! There’s so much that I’d like to say, but yawn, it’s already a few minutes past midnight and I’ve got a full agenda for tomorrow…

There’s a couple of real estate musings I’d like to share with you. One thing that really intrigues me are these larger-scale projects that we’ve got going on. Often times, these types of projects are shot down by the community (think the Coast Santa Cruz Hotel/Dream Inn project, for example) – I mean, who really wants more traffic in Santa Cruz? Maybe if the developers would agree to include a Segway with every new housing unit that gets built?

You think it won’t happen – but then again, this is Santa Cruz. All kinds of interesting things can happen. I ran into a guy a few weeks ago who had recently finished building a house in Seacliff. He told me that before the water district would give him the permit to tap into the water line, he had to pay to have 14 nearby properties retrofited with water saving toilets and shower faucets. He thought it was crazy – and it is, kind of, except when you consider how many hundreds of thousands he poured into the project, we’re only talking about a very fractional amount of money, thanks to which the net water useage for the Seacliff area probably went down.

But I digress. What I wanted to talk about a bit is the Rispin Mansion in Capitola, and the old Salz Tannery on River Street near downtown Santa Cruz. Now here’s a couple of projects that are quite different, yet both are quite controversial. The Rispin Mansion is a place that’s fascinated me for years, and now, after decades of neglect, it’s finally going to be restored, and turned into a large Bed & Breakfast. Who could have a problem with that? Plenty of people, it turns out – anyone who likes to park his or her car at the library across the street, for example, where the city of Capitola plans to put valet parking for the B&B.

The Tannery Artspace, on the other hand, appears to be quite less controversial. It could be that I just didn’t pay enough attention, but it seems that this project got the green light pretty fast, much (decades!) faster than the Rispin Mansion project – despite the fact that they had to change the zoning to allow for residential use, and despite the fact that it’s a toxic waste site from 100 years of tannery operations on the site. But it’s cool, man, it’s cool – it’ll be below-market-rate housing for starving artists. Say “starving artists” and the people of Santa Cruz get right into line behind the project, toxic waste be damned.

Speaking of artists, I’d like to give a shout out to Alexander Luce, the gainfully employed artist (Graphic Designer) who I had the good fortune to meet and represent him in the purchase of a condo in Capitola earlier this year. Alex came up with the new logo and site design for – what do you think? It’ll make me nostalgic for the Orange Revolution for years to come!

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