SANTA CRUZ—Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce will be cutting the ribbon at a monthly networking event Wednesday night to celebrate its new offices, just four floors up from its former home in the downtown Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History building.
The move, which offers a bird’s-eye view of Abbott Square plaza in downtown Santa Cruz, makes way for the emerging transformation of the outdoor plaza to a family friendly, cultural and economic activity center. The partnership to develop the plaza envisions food establishments on the ground floor as well as art installations and performances in the square.
“It’s a really good development for downtown,” said Bill Tysseling, Chamber chief executive officer and executive director. “It has the character of something that will draw people to the square and downtown.”
Although the chamber may lose the occasional casual visitor, little of the organization’s work is generated by casual foot traffic. The move is a welcome change, according to staff. The new, larger office spaces have windows on three sides, compared to the narrow, windowless ground floor office abutting the former 19th century jail.
The new office offers a closed conference room with new white board walls, a conversational area with big chairs, standing workstations and a comfortable space for interns.
The move and new office style reflects changes in the local economy. As businesses evolve, so does the chamber, Tysseling said.
Many chamber supporters donated materials, services and equipment for the move, including Palo Alto Medical Foundation, the New Teacher Center, Thacher & Thompson Architects, AndSon Painting Inc., Santa Cruz Moving Services, Cruzio Internet, Talmadge Construction and Western Design Gallery of Tile & Stone.
“It looks really great,” said Kirsti Scott, chamber president. “It’s more of a welcoming space for someone wanting to have a consultation or a meeting space. The staff is jazzed and it’s going to be a really nice working space for the board.”
Both Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane and Vice Mayor Cynthia Mathews will be on hand Wednesday night to celebrate the move along with chamber board members, staff and about 100 to 150 networking chamber members.
“In the past five years, we’ve worked hard to turn around the chamber and how it appears to the businesses and I think we’re really involved with helping Santa Cruz to prosper,” Scott said.
Also in the building are the Ocean Conservancy, the Coastal Commission, and several therapists’ offices. HZDG, an east coast marketing agency, plans to open its first West Coast office on the second floor of the building to be headed by Ted Holladay as vice president, creative director.
This article first appeared Santa Cruz Sentinel.