Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Someone is buying up downtown Los Altos

A lot has been happening in downtown Los Altos in recent months with new construction and an emphasis on major redevelopment of downtown Los Altos into something more than just a sleepy little town.  Someone is buying large sections of downtown Los Altos.  The question is, what for?

I've lived here on and off since the 60s.  In all that time Los Altos seems to have been stuck between two camps; people who want a sleepy little town and those who want something like Santana Row or Los Gatos. The folks who want to keep the "village" feel are against large chain stores coming into town.  The other folks, like me, would like to see the town become something interesting where we have a lively downtown similar to Los Gatos.  The inability to make the change has been landowners downtown who refuse to allow chains.

Well, Los Altos is heading for change - big change.  The zoning has been changed to allow multi-story buildings downtown.  That will make knocking down old buildings in favor of newer ones economically viable.  In addition, the city is moving ahead with plans to make First Street more walkable with wider sidewalks.

 The entity that is buying up Los Altos has purchased buildings on State Street, First Street, and other areas.  Over $40 million has been invested so far and more may be spent.  Is a developer on the way to buying up downtown to make it a vibrant destination like Los Gatos?  I certainly hope so.  I'll be keeping an eye on this topic and talking to my friends in commercial real estate to see where this goes.

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