Looking ahead in 2013: More downtown construction - lots of it: Editorial

For those of you living or working close to or in downtown Los Altos: Attention – 2013 will bring more sounds of bulldozers and traffic detours in the wake of multiple projects scheduled this year.

If the hassles of 2011 construction weren’t tough enough, this year’s efforts will dwarf the scope of that work.

To wit: The rebuilding of the Safeway market on First Street will double its existing size. A few hundred feet down First toward Edith Avenue is the demolished site of the old post office – primed for 48 condominium units to be built in 2013. Also on First is the second phase of the city-managed First Street streetscape plan, which involves work from the State Street intersection to Shasta Street.

Add to this the distinct possibility of construction on the corner site at First and Main streets (an approved two-building, office and retail complex) and you will have lots of action on First.

In addition, construction on the new boutique hotel at the vacant corner of San Antonio Road and Main Street is under way and is expected to take 15 months to complete.

We’re hoping – and we presume – the city has learned its lessons from its previous project, which had construction disrupting the 2011 holiday shopping season due to delays and bad timing. The fact that no construction work took place during the past holiday shopping season at least shows sensitivity to the businesses already here. The idea is that 12 months down the road, the next holiday season will arrive with at least some, if not most, of the heavy-duty construction completed. And presumably, work will stop so shoppers can shop.

Between now and then, fasten your seatbelts – construction is a necessary evil if downtown is to grow and prosper. We can all stand to learn from our reactions the last time around, when some of us hollered gloom and doom as the work lagged. As we saw, the dust cleared and we have wider, improved sidewalks and buildings. And best of all, no one ran out of business.

It looks like this downtown is really turning a corner, but it still has a ways to go. Keep that in mind this time around. In the end, our downtown will be better off for it.

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