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Score Two for the Common Good

This was a happy week for a pair of local agencies’ missions to acquire two very different types of properties that I’ve been handling for multiple years. 

In Midtown, the Santa Cruz City School District signed off on their purchase of the Pacific Cultural Center, which is going to be annexed to Gault Elementary School. It hasn’t been conclusively established what the eventual use of the property will be, but as a start the school can use the existing spaces for staff parking and student drop-off. 

As part of their due diligence, the district had a fair amount of testing done to determine whether the existing masonry structure can be repurposed for use by a public institution. And while the findings weren’t conclusive, there remains a chance that the venerable building, which many of us share fond memories of, can be preserved.

Elsewhere, on the very same day the Superintendent was signing the closing papers for the PCC property, the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County received word that their funding survived the latest round of State budget cuts so they will be able to acquire the 144-Acre La Selva Highlands Ranch, a collection of 3 parcels that stretch from HWY 1 to San Andreas Rd and held by the Xanthus family for nearly a century while development encircled it on all sides. 

Its lands are scheduled to be conveyed to the Land Trust in mid-August, at which time it will be designated in perpetuity as a natural habitat for preservation of the endangered Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamander and other sensitive species. There aren’t plans for public access in the immediate future, but eventually they plan to put in trails, along with an outreach center at the old barn where local students and others can learn about the unique natural resources that are part of our county’s rich heritage.

Each of these transactions were the culmination of years of monumental efforts by the various parties and brokers involved and were by no means assured success from the outset. 

In the case of PCC, the parent organization had agonized for years over the decision to release their beloved facility in the wake of COVID before retaining my services in May of 2022. And in the time since, the property had been under contract with multiple developers and non-profits who for various reasons were unable or unwilling to complete the purchase before it was finally picked up by the School District.

As for the Land Trust’s acquisition, their interest in the Xanthus ranch dated back to at least 2008. In the time since then, it had been off and on the market with multiple agencies before I took on the project in January of 2021, and after literally years of facilitating between its multiple owners, tenants and various interested entities in the time since, we ended up in contract with the Land Trust for an escrow that has spanned the over 18 months it took to satisfy all the steps that were required to get the necessary funding.

And while each hard-earned success comes with a sense of relief and achievement, in an odd way I often miss these types of longtime projects when they’re finally completed.

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As a colleague he's an amazing person and broker.






Great job! And thanks for sharing.

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