Pilot Program:

Downtown Pops!

Applications are Now Closed.

Program Status:

Applications for the second round of Downtown Pops! are closed as of July 31, 2022. Upcoming rounds may be announced based on space availability.

Still interested in finding a space for your business? Check out our Space Available page for commercial spaces for lease or contact Sarah Domondon at [email protected]

Program Description:

Downtown Pops! is the City's pilot program designed to lower the barriers to entry for businesses looking to open a brick and mortar space. In addition, the program intends to reduce the risk for property owners to take on new tenants during challenging times. Through the program, the City enters a master lease with downtown commercial property owners with vacant spaces on Pacific Avenue, provides a guaranteed minimum rent, and then sub-leases these spaces to various pop-up tenants for a six-month term. Lease terms are set at 5% of monthly sales. Long term lease options may be negotiated with the broker or property owner based on initial six-month term.

Who Should Apply?

We are seeking aspiring new businesses with sound business concepts, established successful businesses with temporary expansion needs or looking to prototype new products or concepts, and other creative pop-ups designed to activate and invite downtown engagement. Preference will be given to local business owners, women, and people of color.

Program Guide:

The City of Santa Cruz has released a Program Guide for prospective tenants for the Downtown Pops! Program. You can find the Program Guide document below. Please read the document thoroughly before beginning your application. If you need assistance preparing a business plan or financial projections, please contact the Small Business Development Center at www.santacruzsbdc.org

Downtown Pops! Application Information

Future Interest List

Currently, the application window is closed. Sign up if you would to participate in future rounds, and we will contact you if the application reopens.

Downtown Pops! Prospective Tenant Program Guide

Please read the full document before beginning your application.

Financial Projections Spreadsheet

Please use this spreadsheet to complete your financial projections and include in your application.

Current Downtown Pops! Businesses:

Curated By The Sea — 703 Front Street

Founded in Capitola Village in August of 2019, Curated by the Sea regrouped and relocated to a light filled, 4,600 sq. ft. empty storefront in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz. The gallery represents the work of 30+ local and regional artists as well as exhibit a rotating series of themed shows and special events.

Current Downtown Pops! Businesses:

RREVV Gallery — 1349 Pacific Avenue

RREVV is an artist-run gallery, featuring industrial chic leather handbags and accessories, custom furniture, bespoke lighting, jewelry and other local art. Artists Rachel and Rigel Hunter opened the gallery on Pacific Avenue in December 2021, featuring their personal work along with revolving guest artists.

Additional Information:

How does the lease structure work?

Selected business tenants in the program would pay to the City a percentage rent of their sales, currently set at 5%. The City, in turn, would supplement the percentage rent with a minimum of $1/sq. ft. rent, to ensure that the landlord receives up to a maximum rent of $2/sq. ft. Any additional rent collected would be reserved by the City on the tenant’s behalf to support each tenant’s future expansion into a permanent business concept. All initial lease terms will be for six months. It is estimated that the program can support between 8-12 pop-ups during the initial lease-up period, depending on the size and availability of spaces and the availability of tenants.

How do property owners get involved?

We are seeking Downtown Santa Cruz property owners with vacant ground-floor spaces, primarily on Pacific Avenue, interested in participating in the program. Property owners can complete this interest form or contact Sarah Domondon at [email protected] to learn more and sign up.