Business & Real Estate

Developer moving forward with El Camino plans amid reach code changes

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Rendering Courtesy of Mircea Voskerician
The developer of Altos One, rendering above, the planned 52-unit condominium complex on El Camino Real, hopes to break ground on the project by early next year.

As the Los Altos City Council moved last week to ban natural gas in most new buildings, including multi-family buildings of more than 10 units, at least one local developer is planning a large development offering natural
gas.

The 52-unit Altos One condo development at 4846/4856 El Camino Real in Los Altos will be among the last large housing developments in the city to offer both a combination of natural gas and electric, according to its developer, Mircea Voskerician.

Voskerician submitted a building application permit to the city in late August, and hopes to break ground early next year. The five-story, all-condominium building is expected to feature 10 below-market-rate units, six of them for rent in the “very low income” category. There also will be two underground levels of parking and 108 parking spots.

Voskerician, who does not support the reach codes enacted by the city, said developers might save money on construction because they don’t have to pay to install gas lines and gas meters. But the cost will be passed on to the buyers or tenants because the electric bill might increase.

“Is somebody willing to take that without having a discount?” Voskerician said. “That is the question. We believe the answer to that is they will be asking for a discount.”
During the Sept. 22 council meeting, Councilwoman Anita Enander voiced concerns about the cost-effectiveness of reach codes and voted against an all-electric ordinance in single-family homes. But Enander joined with the unanimous decision on multi-family units.

“It’s more likely to be cost-effective when you’re doing a complete overhaul project in a multi-family environment than you are in a single-family,” Enander said during the meeting. “You do not have to do what amounts to a huge gasi nstallation.”

According to Voskerician, larger units with families and children might see a higher bill under an all-electric model because of the amount of cooking. Going electric might be more conducive to those living in one-bedroom units.

Similar reach codes have been enacted recently in neighboring cities such as Mountain View, Los Altos Hills, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos and Saratoga.

“This is something new,” Voskerician said. “Obviously, you’ll have to adapt.”

Voskerician believes that families are willing to move into the El Camino corridor despite concerns about noise and traffic. The corridor between Los Altos and Mountain View is one of the few remaining locations in the city where high-density housing could be potentially built as Los Altos hopes to catch up on its state-mandated Regional Housing Allocation Need numbers.

“El Camino is pretty much it,” Voskerician said. “Considering the circumstances, there are not that many lots that can actually accommodate condos.”

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