Business & Real Estate

Q&A: LACI's Anne Wojcicki talks 170 State St. remodel

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Anne Wojcicki, the principal at Los Altos Community Investments, wants “food and fun” in her 170 State St. building. Located in downtown Los Altos, the building has been mostly vacant for nearly a year.

Food and fun are the priority for Anne Wojcicki when 170 State St. takes on new life after its remodel.

Located in downtown Los Altos and owned by Los Altos Community Investments, the complex has been occupied by Play! Los Altos and Kiwi Crate in recent years. Now completely vacant – and long ready for a face-lift – 170 State St.’s future gained some clarity in a Town Crier interview last week with Wojcicki, the principal at LACI and CEO of 23andMe.

Q: What’s your vision for 170 State St.?

A: My goal is to make it a hub for multigenerations where potentially there’s some green space. There’s a spectacular courtyard (and) some spectacular outdoor space as part of the building, and it’s part of the Farmers’ Market.

I really think of this as being a very open, multigenerational spot where there’s a lot of variety and fun. One of the things I think about with the different businesses coming in is making sure they enhance the culture. How can we support local entrepreneurs and how can we support the local community that’s going to come visit them?

Q: How do you see the 170 State St. complex as a hub for Los Altos?

A: We don’t have definitive plans of exactly what’s going to go in there, but part of the vision is somewhere you can go and hang out – (a place) where my kids could say, “I’m leaving school and I’m going to hang out in this place.”

I have some ideas about redoing the arcade and making that bigger, and I think that could be a hub. You want people just hanging out in town, you can get food, you have stuff you can do, you can meet your friends – it’s a hub with social activity.

Right now when I go to the Farmers’ Market, I sit on the floor in front of the Costume Bank. What are ways that I can enhance that experience?

Q: What kinds of tenants are you thinking about?

A: One of the things I’m really excited about is that when I look at some of our tenants, they’re owners who are really passionate. It’s not a chain. It’s an owner who’s around. It adds to the vibrancy of the community, and we want to do more of that.

(The idea is) food and fun. Bumble is a mix of food and fun. There’s stuff for kids to do, there’s a lawn, there’s an outside. I want food and fun.

Q: Do you plan on tearing down or remodeling 170 State St.?

A: It’s a remodel. I think one of the things that was really fun was we brought in the original architect of it. I think he’s 99.

170 is a great building. I love that it was locally designed, it was a local architect. There’s so much greatness about the building there to preserve. More and more when I look at the Farmers’ Market or look at the vibrancy in town there (I ask how) I can add to the vibrancy with that building.

Q: Play! Los Altos closed nearly a year ago at 170 State. What’s taken so long to continue with the redevelopment?

A: One thing I’ve learned is nothing in real estate moves that quickly – getting permits, figuring out the plan, getting tenants, all that. I also had my hands full for First Street Green. So I’m really trying to push this fast-track now to get it going soon.

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