Thu04242014

News

Developers reduce bulk on three-story building plan

Ted and Jerry Sorensen think they may be nearing the end of their five-year quest for approval to build a three-story office building on Main Street at the north end of downtown Los Altos.

The Sorensens’ latest revision, which they hope will be up for Los Altos City Council review May 8, trims bulk and mass from the previous design to comply with the requirements of the city’s Planning Commission. The latest revision totals approximately 3,400 square feet fewer than the previous submission, Ted Sorensen said. To reduce an appearance criticized as bulky, the third floor has been set back.

“We’ve turned the second floor into a mezzanine” to further reduce the floor area, Sorensen said.

The latest plan marks possibly the first significant attempt by the brothers to address critics’ concerns that the building proposed for 40 Main St. was too big for its space.

Next-door neighbor Von Packard, who with his brother, Ron, a member of the Los Altos City Council, owns the office building at 4 Main St., had pointed out that the Sorensens did not significantly alter their plans in the past despite repeatedly being asked to do so.

Also at issue was the lack of required parking stalls – a deficit the Sorensens attempted to address by offering several different parking solutions.

“Our first instinct was to solve the parking problem,” Sorensen said.

Their latest solution involved restriping and reconfiguring spaces in Plaza 10, behind their property, to add additional stalls. But the proposal was rejected.

“What we’ve done is what essentially came out of the last Planning Commission meeting,” Sorensen said. “We have now met all the requirements.”

The reduction of the square-footage lowered the parking requirements, he said.

“We have 13 stall credits,” Sorensen said, or 13 short of the number needed, but he believes the council will find that number acceptable.

The result of these changes, he said, is “a project that is less economically viable, but we’ll take any approval we can get and finance.”

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