Los Altos Real Estate Blog

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Will Los Altos ever be a big destination like Los Gatos?

I grew up in Los Altos and as far back as I can remember, one of the most common questions about downtown Los Altos was about what there is to do.  Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great restaurants including the Los Altos Grill, Opa, First and Main, Spot Pizza, and others.  There are even a few shops that are fun to go to.  But downtown Los Altos lacks the "wow factor" that places like Los Gatos and Santana Row offer.  If you're a Los Altos resident (or hoping to be one), there's a reason for that lack of flair downtown.

Narrow buildings.  There are a few property owners downtown who have help several buildings on Main Street for many years.  Those buildings are only 25 feet wide, which is regarded throughout the retail industry being...nearly useless.  For any major retailer wanting to have a "presence" downtown, the building width is too narrow.  The typical preferred width is 50 feet.  That means two buildings have to be sold, knocked down, and merged in order to make a building suitable for any of the "name brand" stores seen in downtown Los Gatos or other destination cities.  There are a few buildings with the required width, but not enough.  The lack of sufficiently wide buildings means businesses worthy of staying open late, run by corporations rather than small businesspeople, can't operate downtown.

If the town is EVER to become a destination, it needs businesses that can stay open till 9PM so that shoppers and diners have a reason to be downtown.  As it is now, downtown Los Altos shuts down (except the restaurants) by 6PM and it's a ghost town.  We're not helping our restaurant merchants but preventing the name brands and corporations from putting a presence downtown.

So, there you have it - building width is holding up downtown Los Altos growth.

The good news is that there are people who want to make Los Altos into something better and are buying nearly any property on Main Street or State Street to begin merging buildings.  I hope these folks have the patience to make it happen.

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 Bryan Robertson, CEO | T: 650.799.9951 | Email: bryan@catarra-re.com | Website: http://www.BryanRobertsonHomes.com |CA BRE# 01191946 | Catarra Real Estate, Inc  | 171 Main St #220 | Los Altos, CA 94022

 

 

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Comment balloon 7 commentsBryan Robertson • October 23 2011 10:52AM

Comments

When stumbling out of Fiesta Vallara at the late hour of 7pm, when the last of the die hards begin making their way home, it's comforting to see that Baskin Robbins is still open just down the block... Los Altos sure is a party town.

Posted by John Souerbry, Homes, Land & Investments (Cordon Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

John - Too funny!  It's pretty quite over on State Street by 7PM but Baskin Robbins is open for sure.  Oh, that's depressing!

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

I can relate to your post Bryan, for years Lake Charles has been working to become a destination.  I have lived here 28 years and seen us come a long way.  We have some big things on the horizon that will help put us "on the radar" they say build it and they will come

Hope your City has a vision and will become a destination as you mention

Posted by Marilyn Boudreaux, Lake Charles LA Century 21 Realtor (Marilyn Boudreaux, Century 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s) almost 7 years ago

Our Walmart is open 24 hours a day. So there...

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) almost 7 years ago

Gilroy has been wrestling with this issue for quite a while.  Getting the right mixture of restaurants and shops is key.  Getting the merchants to stay open longer is difficult.  We have added a few restaurants lately, which is great for post 6PM traffic, but tough to do in these tough economic times. 

Posted by Gary Frimann, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) almost 7 years ago

Marilyn - Sounds like Lake Charles has some vision which is a good thing.  I hope "they" do come and it becomes a destination.  Los Altos does have a vision but it's a long time in coming.  Breaking the choke hold those few downtown land owners have will be the key.

Doug - LOL!! 

Gary - I had no idea Gilroy was wrestling with that.  But yes, if you guys got restaurants that does help with post 6PM people.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

Gilroy has the Garlic Festival... Los Altos could have an annual International Manicure and Pedicure Exhibition and Competition - that seems to be the primary business downtown.  People would come from the world over to compete and admire all those shiney nails........  Destination problem solved.

Posted by John Souerbry, Homes, Land & Investments (Cordon Real Estate) almost 7 years ago

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