Construction update: Downtown projects pick up pace

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A construction worker directs the placement of a beam for the new Safeway store on First Street.

As the pace of holiday shopping in downtown Los Altos picks up, so does the schedule for the area’s ongoing construction projects. Following is an update on four projects currently underway – in varying degrees – in the downtown triangle.

First Street Safeway

Structural work on the new 45,000-square-foot, podium-style Safeway at 160 First St. is “significantly complete,” according to Keith Turner, Safeway’s director of public and government affairs.

Safeway representatives were slated to update the Los Altos City Council Tuesday night on the project’s progress – past the Town Crier’s press deadline.

In an email to the Town Crier, Turner said foundations and double-T structural supports are in for the new grocery store. Workers are currently framing the walls and roof for the southern half of the building, which will be approximately twice as large as the 1960s-era Safeway the new store will replace.

“All work is progressing nicely and without any significant disruption,” Turner said.

Turner added that the next steps include completing remaining structural work on the north side of the building and the installation of roof steel and walls. Then construction crews will enclose the building, which includes the installation of metal decking and exterior walls, by the end of January.

Work to install the store’s various electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems will continue within the building.

Turner anticipated that the store’s ground-level parking area slab will be prepped and poured in January or February.

The new market remains on track for a June finish, he concluded.

100 First St. condominiums

Construction crews are framing the third floor of developer Randy Lamb’s 48-unit condominium complex at 100 First St., according to David Dacus, sales manager for Lamb Partners LLC. He added that the project is currently slated for completion sometime in mid-summer.

Dacus said the project, built on the site of the demolished U.S. Postal Service office, is expected to “top out” with the completion of roof installation sometime early next year. Dacus noted that the lack of rain this fall meant that the project didn’t experience the on-again, off-again work interruptions construction crews typically endure.

“We make hay when the sun shines, as the saying goes,” said Dacus, who added that he still anticipates some weather-related impacts through the winter.

On the sales front, Dacus said early interest in the one- to three-bedroom units, which range from 800 to 2,700 square feet in size, has been significant, even though pricing won’t be revealed until early next year.

“We’ve had a lot of people reserving homes already,” said Dacus, without citing any specific figures.

For more information, visit

Enchanté boutique hotel

Los Altos resident and developer Abby Ahrens told the Town Crier that her French-themed boutique hotel, Enchanté, is currently on schedule for a pre-summer finish.

“Definitely by May,” she said.

The 12,000-square-foot hotel at the corner of Main Street and San Antonio Road will feature 18 uniquely themed rooms with fireplaces, a lounge, a bistro and a public plaza. Ahrens said Comcast crews recently installed fiber-optic cable.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” said Ahrens, noting that hotel perks would include a canine concierge service. “It’s got a dark flavor with the best of technology.”

She added that construction crews are currently working to install the structure’s slate roof and electrical work. In addition, workers are installing a “several-hundred-year-old” antique French window – called an “oeil-de-boeuf,” French for “bull’s-eye” – on the upper level of the boutique hotel, facing its plaza and San Antonio Road. Crews are expected to begin applying final exterior coats for the building “in the near future,” she added.

Ahrens said her finishing touches to decorate the interior of the hotel would include “a smattering of antiques.”

For updates and more information, visit EnchanteHotel.

First & Main mixed-use project

According to Los Altos Special Projects Manager Dave Brees, construction crews for the Jeffrey A. Morris Group are currently framing the podium deck that will top the underground garage of the developer’s two-story project.

Brees said a crew recently poured concrete to form the walls of the underground parking area, which will underpin retail and Class A office space at the corner of First and Main streets. Approximately half of the garage floor has been poured, he added, with the second half scheduled for completion this week.

Construction on the gateway project, which began last summer, remains on track to finish within its 14- to 16-month time frame, Brees said.

Downtown Construction Update: December 2013 - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

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