Thu04242014

News

Plan for three-story building on Main heads to city council


Photo By: Rendering Courtesy of Ted Sorensen
Photo Rendering Courtesy Of Ted Sorensen

Plans for the Sorensen project at 40 Main St., marked by the arrow, were slated for review at the Los Altos City Council meeting Tuesday, past press deadline.

Developers Ted and Jerry Sorensen – and their project at 40 Main St. – will have their day before the Los Altos City Council.

A revised version of their three-story mixed-use project was scheduled for review by the city council at Tuesday’s meeting, held after the Town Crier’s press deadline.

According to Ted Sorensen, the revised project features a multiple-story building totaling approximately 15,400 square feet. It includes a paseo (a storefront promenade) and a 4,000-square-foot mezzanine between the ground floor and the upper level.

The upper level, designated as Class A office space, is set back and features a balcony overlooking Main Street. The previous plan proposed a building totaling 17,500 square feet.

Sorensen said he believes the updated plans are in compliance with changes the Los Altos Planning Commission recommended in its January approval.

“Jerry and I have worked hard on this project for over five years,” Sorensen wrote in an email to the Town Crier. “We have listened to the staff, the planning commissioners and the councilmembers at every opportunity. We believe that this building meets or exceeds the expectations of all who have reviewed it.”

In addition to reducing the bulk and floor space of the building, Sorensen said they are offering an additional $300,000 to rebuild parking Plaza 10 in whatever way the city deems fit. Among the recommendations from the Planning Commission was finding a way to reduce the bulk of the building, thereby decreasing the project’s parking requirements.

If approved, Sorensen said a reworking of Plaza 10 potentially could include upgraded landscaping, restriped parking spaces and the undergrounding of utilities, as well new lighting, new bicycle racks and an enhanced circulation plan. He estimated that a reconfiguration of the plaza could yield up to 20 additional parking spaces.

“Whether an improved circulation plan is adopted, which could add 16-20 stalls or not, this reconstruction of Plaza 10 will be a model for an improved plaza parking experience,” Sorensen said.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce planned to submit a letter in support of the project, calling it “an enhancement to downtown Los Altos, both economically and visually.”

The project, however, is not without its detractors.

Von Packard, who with his brother, Councilman Ron Packard, owns the 4 Main St. property next to the proposed project, has submitted a letter to the city urging the council to reject it.

Von Packard stated in his letter that the new project, at approximately seven times the size of the current 2,100-square-foot building at 40 Main, would make finding a parking spot even more difficult in Plaza 10. Packard noted that a parking study conducted by Pang Engineers Inc. in 2008 concluded that Plaza 10 already has a higher occupancy rate than the downtown’s other nine plazas.

In addition, Packard noted in his letter that the 40 Main building exceeds the city’s 30-foot height limit by approximately 5 feet and would create “a precedent for additional similar-height buildings in the Main corridor.”

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