New Affordable Housing Options

Posted on July 7, 2015 by  
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Colonnade Los AltosMore affordable housing options are coming to Los Altos, and prospective residents have until the end of the month to submit their applications for a lottery drawing.

“It’s a terrific opportunity for very high-quality apartments in an urban setting so close to shopping on El Camino,” said David Kornfield, the city’s planning services manager.

Colonnade Los Altos at 4750 El Camino Real will rent 17 below-market-rate (BMR) apartments – 16 one- and two-bedroom apartments for residents with very low incomes and a one-bedroom unit for a renter with a low income.

The salary range for those qualifying under the “very low income” requirement is $37,250 for one person to $57,450 for five people. The “low income” requirement limits the range from $59,400 for one person to $76,4000 for three people. The amounts are based on Santa Clara County’s median income of $106,300 for a four-person household.

The rent on the BMR units will run between $923 and $1,561 monthly. Comparatively, market-rate apartments are in the $3,000-$5,250 range.

In addition to income limits, the city will assign prospective renters priority rankings, with preference given to salaried employees of the city, school districts and fire department serving Los Altos residents. Other rankings include current Los Altos residents and workers. Final priority will go to those who either live or work in Santa Clara County.

According to Sares-Regis Group property manager Justin Whitsitt, the Colonnade’s management team has received 60 BMR preapplications and expects “a lot more.” To include more eligible applicants, Sares-Regis Group extended the deadline for preliminary applications from July 17 to July 31.

Of 167 units total, Stanford University leased 150 apartments for staff housing. The 17 BMR units will be spread throughout the complex and include the same amenities as the rest.

“We’ve found that you don’t want to segregate anyone,” said Karen Bowman, Sares-Regis Group regional vice president. “You just want it to have one sense of community.”

Kornfield said the Colonnade features the city’s largest number of BMR rentals in one location. Los Altos has 105 affordable multiple-family BMR units, including 32 rentals, 22 senior units and 44 second-living units, he added.

After the preliminary application deadline, the Colonnade management team will schedule a lottery drawing for the apartments. Whitsitt anticipates that four apartments will be available by the end of summer and the others will open through four project phases.

To submit a preapplication for the lottery process, visit


Local BMR Units Coming To Market

Posted on November 20, 2014 by  
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100 First StreetThree significant construction projects in Los Altos should be completed within the next 12-18 months, and all include affordable housing units.

According to Los Altos Planning Services Manager David Kornfield, the city is slated to add 24 below-market-rate (BMR) units – including 17 rentals – in the next year and a half. The new BMRs will be offered at the 48-unit condominium project at 100 First St., the Colonnade apartments at 4750 El Camino Real and the mixed-use office and 20-unit condo development at 86 Third St.

“We’ve got a lot of good projects coming online,” said Kornfield, who added that the city’s affordable housing program is administered via Neighborhood Housing Services Silicon Valley (NHSSV), a nonprofit real estate services agency. “Our production (of affordable housing) is limited by developer investments in the city, so we’re fortunate to have these.”

Kornfield noted that developer Randy Lamb’s 100 First St. complex, former site of the post office, is scheduled to wrap up in early 2015, the first of the projects completed. The development will offer five BMR units for sale: three one bedrooms and a pair of two bedrooms. He added that four of the residences are designated as moderate-income units, with one single-bedroom unit classified as low income.

According to NHSSV, low-income BMR units are available to eligible buyers earning no more than 80 percent of the Santa Clara County Area Median Income (AMI) – $59,400 for a single person. Moderate-income dwellings are limited to prospective buyers making no more than 110 percent of the AMI.

Other factors – such as priority criteria outlined by the city – limit the pool of eligible buyers for the deed-restricted units.

In addition to Lamb’s soon-to-be completed development, city officials anticipate the completion of the 167-unit Colonnade apartment complex – located on the former Los Altos Garden Supply site – next spring. That development, Kornfield noted, includes 17 BMR rentals – 11 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom units. Of those, 16 are designated very-low-income units, 50 percent of the AMI, while the other is rated a low-income unit.

Finally, developer David Luedtke’s mixed-use development at 86 Third St. will eventually add two new BMR units – one moderate-income three-bedroom unit and one low-income two-bedroom unit – to the city’s stock. Kornfield said he expects the project to be completed by the end of 2015 or early 2016.


Draeger’s Looking To Expand

Posted on August 14, 2014 by  
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Draeger'sDraeger’s Market has its sights set on expanding its grocery store at 342 First St., according to city planning officials.

Los Altos Senior Planner Zach Dahl told the Town Crier that the family-owned grocer – which has additional locations in Menlo Park, San Mateo and Danville – submitted plans in early July to expand the rear portion of its existing 21,000-square-foot store. Draeger’s has called its First Street store home since December 1986, when the company purchased the former Whitecliff Market property and remodeled the building. A call to Draeger’s management was not returned by the Town Crier’s press deadline.

Los Altos Planning Services Manager David Kornfield added that initial plans call for expanded storage area and a new loading dock in the rear of the building. The expansion incorporates the former dry-cleaning property adjacent to Draeger’s. Plans call for a net increase of approximately 3,000 square feet.

“Essentially what they want to do is add to the back of the building and improve their loading activities by getting big trucks (unloading goods) off the street,” Kornfield said.

In addition, Dahl noted, plans include a new stone facade for the market and an improved seating area near the store’s front entrance.

Other features, he added, include new wood trellises and updated landscaping. The grocer also plans to reconfigure its parking lot in a bid to add 15 more parking spaces. The current lot holds 72 cars.

As part of the reconfiguration, Kornfield noted that Draeger’s plans to relocate its driveway closer to the midblock point of the parking lot. The current entry point is near the entrance of the store and a crosswalk. The grocer, he added, is also expected to make sidewalk improvements as part of the project.

Overall, Dahl said the project remains in the city staff review phase. A public hearing on the project at the commission level has yet to be scheduled.


Construction update: First Street

Posted on February 21, 2014 by  
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First Stree ConstructionFollowing are brief updates on the individual projects.

100 First St. condominiums

With the roof finished and exterior and interior work progressing, Randy Lamb’s 48-unit condominium complex at 100 First St. is nearing the homestretch.

Although residential units won’t be ready for occupancy until late summer if the project remains on schedule, sales manager David Dacus noted that interest from potential residents is growing. He said pricing would be released to individuals with reservations in March. Sales contracts could follow shortly thereafter.

First Street Safeway

Construction has progressed smoothly at the future 45,000-square-foot Safeway at 160 First St., according to Bill Carrozzella, Safeway’s Northern California Division real estate manager. Interior work on the new store is expected to begin in early March, when the structure is fully enclosed.

If construction continues apace, the new Safeway will open its doors to shoppers at the end of June.

First & Main streets mixed-use project

Cars and pedestrians heading west on Main Street can now spot the rust-red steel frame of the 32,000-square-foot mixed-use project that bows out to fill the corner of First and Main streets.

Property manager Ron Labetich said the retail and office project at 400 First St. is on schedule for completion in the fourth quarter. Potential tenants are expressing interest in the project, according to Labetich, especially restaurant owners who want to be near the corner courtyard that will bring light into the building.


Local High Schools Build New Classrooms

Posted on August 22, 2013 by  
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The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District officially opened three new classroom buildings in preparation for the arrival of 3,800 students this week.

Voters approved the district’s Measure A construction program in June 2010, an initiative designed to accommodate enrollment growth. The incoming freshman Class of 2017 boasts 1,000 students.

In anticipation of a 500-student increase from 2010 to 2019, Los Altos High School added 12 general-education and art classrooms and repurposed existing art classrooms into science classrooms.

Mountain View High, with projected enrollment growth of 300 students from 2010 to 2019, added nine general-education and three physical science classrooms in two buildings and renovated two physical science classrooms into biology classrooms in the existing science building.

Both schools seek U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver certification for features that include high-efficiency lighting and mechanical systems, superior natural lighting, superior acoustics, sustainable building products, native landscaping, bioswales to control storm runoff and solar panels on roofs. Kramer Project Development Co. Inc. managed the project, designed by Sugimura Finney Architects, with Linda Mao serving as project architect.

Construction began in May 2012 and is scheduled to complete on time and within budget. The Citizens Oversight Committee worked with the district throughout the planning, environmental impact report and construction phases to ensure that the district’s performance on the bond program met the purposes specified in the ballot language.

“The quality of these buildings is a direct result of the collaboration between our architects, staff and consultants and the tremendous dedication of Kramer Project Development,” said Joe White, associate superintendent of business services for the district.


New development hits Downtown

Posted on January 23, 2013 by  
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Years from now, 2013 may well be remembered as the year of construction in downtown Los Altos.

With a handful of projects under way or set to kick off later this year in and around the downtown triangle, the presence of cranes, bulldozers and construction crews has become a part of the landscape – at least for now.

The Town Crier gathered updates on downtown’s development projects. Details follow.


Wendy Gutshall, Safeway public affairs and government relations manager, told the Town Crier that the groundbreaking for a 45,000-square-foot podium-style grocery store at 160 First St. is scheduled for March.

She added that while a closing date for the existing

market has yet to be finalized, the company anticipates a two-month period to decommission and demolish the existing 45-year-old structure.

From there, she noted, construction on the new store is projected to take 10 months to complete, with a proposed completion date of March 2014.

In the meantime, the company continues to make refinements to the project.

In December, Safeway received a Planning and Transportation Commission recommendation to approve an interior ceiling height change for the store. According to a city staff report, the company specifically requested the removal of a drop ceiling to allow for “a greater architectural aesthetic, and allow for natural lighting through skylights in the roof.”

The Los Altos City Council approved the ceiling change at their last meeting.


The next phase of the city’s First Street streetscape project is slated to begin May 1, according to Los Altos Assistant City Manager James Walgren.

The $1.3 million project’s Phase 1B construction calls for, among other things, sidewalk improvements stretching from the intersection of First and State streets to Shasta Street. Project work includes sidewalk widening to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, additional landscaping with centralized irrigation lines and utility undergrounding.

Walgren said sidewalk construction along the east side of First Street is scheduled for completion just before the Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival in July. Intersection work at State and First streets will begin shortly after the festival, with a targeted completion date of Oct. 1, he added.

Walgren noted that “there is some question” as to when the city can undertake the final component of the Phase 1B project – street resurfacing from the corner of State Street to Edith Avenue.

Because it hinges on the completion of construction and sidewalk work by Safeway and developer Randy Lamb’s housing project at 100 First St., the city may opt to wait on street resurfacing until 2014 to minimize disruption for merchants during the holidays, he said.


Construction crews began work on the 90-day San Antonio Road streetscape project Jan. 7.

According to Los Altos Economic Development Manager Kathy Kleinbaum, the project calls for sidewalk widening along the downtown side of the road to comply with ADA requirements, the construction of a 4-foot plant wall that will serve as screening for Parking Plaza 3 and the relandscaping of medians between First Street and West Edith Avenue, among other upgrades.

Kleinbaum noted that the project will – at times – reduce San Antonio Road to one lane each way between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. during median work.

Updates on the project are available at


The Lennar Homes development of 20 condominium units at the former site of Adobe Animal Hospital is nearing the finish line, according to Laura Kilgore, the company’s director of marketing for Northern California.

All told, Kilgore said the company is “hoping” to complete the project in late January or early February, though no specific opening date has been determined. Kilgore noted that the company recently released its first three homes for sale at the site.

The first units entered the market with prices ranging from $740,000 for an 804-square-foot unit with one bedroom and one bathroom to $1.19 million for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom 1,534-square-foot unit.


Lamb’s 48-unit condominium project kicked off in September when crews demolished the nearly 50-year-old post office at 100 First St.

Calls and emails to Lamb seeking additional information were not returned by the Town Crier’s press deadline.

Walgren, however, said he anticipates that the 14- to 16-month project won’t be completed until early 2014.

“I’d say they’re probably a year, or maybe more, out,” he said, adding that the next step for construction crews at the site involves excavation for an underground parking structure.


Developer Jeffrey A. Morris declined to comment about his project at the corner of First and Main streets, which calls for a pair of two-story retail and Class A office buildings connected by a second-floor span.

Walgren said that while Morris hasn’t submitted final construction drawings to the city for approval, he’s expected to do so before May.

“My expectation is they’ll be submitting shortly for plan checks and permits,” said Walgren, who added that the project is expected to take 14 to 16 months to complete.


According to developer Abby Ahrens, construction crews began pouring concrete to form the foundation of her 18-room hotel at 1 Main St. during the first week of January.

Framing for the $8 million project at the corner of First Street and San Antonio Road is scheduled for spring, added Ahrens, who held a groundbreaking ceremony Nov. 28.

The project is expected to take 15 months to complete.


Street Project Transforms Downtown

Posted on September 24, 2011 by  
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I always find it interesting to read stories of Los Altos reported in local papers.  Specifically, how is the essence of the community captured within the story.  Just yesterday, on the front page of the Daily News, Kristen Marschall wrote about the changes happening in Downtown.

I think she did a good job capturing the anticipation of the current effort. Below, is an slightly edited version.  Enjoy …

The fresh asphalt had just finished drying on First and Main streets, and Beverly Tucker was clearly relieved.

Los Altos residents will share that relief on Monday when the intersection reopens, allowing them to come and go from Foothill Expressway to the downtown hub without driving around blocked-off streets.

“We are really pushing to get this done on time,” said Tucker, project information manager, on Thursday. “We want it done before the holiday shopping season.”

The First Street Infrastructure and Streetscape Project — one of many construction sites in downtown Los Altos and the first stage of significant roadwork — was designed to accomplish several street upgrades.

First, it intends to improve the appearance of downtown streets by removing utility poles and the trees deformed by them, and to widen the sidewalk to comply with disability standards.

“You could barely get a shopping cart through, let alone a wheelchair or a stroller,” Tucker said about the west side of First Street.

Power and phone lines were placed underground, and out-of-date storm drains and sewer systems were updated. With the streets slightly higher on one side than the other, Tucker said rainwater runoff will flow to a catchment area, which will direct it to the street’s planters and trees, then to the storm drain and the Bay.

“The impetus wasn’t cosmetic, but the end result is cosmetic,” Tucker said. “It’s one of the first big infrastructure projects the city’s done in a long time.”

Tucker, also the city’s recreation director, designed the website, which hosts weekly updates on the project for residents and business owners. She said the site gets a couple hundred visits a week.

Just south of First Street on Main Street, some businesses are more visible than before. Le Boulanger, for example, has introduced three times as many tables and chairs on the expanded sidewalk and caters to a larger lunchtime crowd, Tucker said.

First Street from Main Street to State Street will be closed until Oct. 31, at which point one-way traffic will be allowed. But the street promises to remain busy as Safeway undergoes a remodel and a developer finalizes plans for 400 Main St.


North Los Altos Ranch

510 PANCHITA WAY, Los Altos, CA 94024
Sold  at $1,480,000
3 Beds / 2 Baths / 2,032 sqft
Single Family Detached
Represented: Buyer


A Boutique Home In Los Gatos

27 CROSS WAY, Los Gatos, CA 95014
Sold at $899,000
2 Beds / 2 Baths / 900 sqft
Represented: Buyer


A Townhouse Gem in Cupertino

Posted on February 14, 2011 by  
Filed under Sold Properties · Tagged: , , , ,

20580 SHADY OAK LANE, Cupertino, CA 95014
Sold at $590,000
2 Beds / 2.5 Baths / 1,385 sqft
Represented: Seller


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