The Los Gatos Commons is a popular senior condominium community off of Alberto Way in Los Gatos, very close to the downtown shopping and dining district (see map, below). This complex was developed in 1978, so is 42 years old as of this writing in 2020. There are 110 condo units, ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms. Most units have carports, but there are a few with 1 car garages available. A plus for many residents is that it is gated – a rarely found amenity in Silicon Valley.
Like other senior communities, of which there are very few in Santa Clara County, properties are more affordable here than what you might find in non age-restricted condominiums nearby.
Homes share a clubhouse, pool, spa, and fitness room, as well as beautifully maintained landscaping. Units have covered parking.
Nearby amenities include easy access to highways 9 and 17, a close proximity to downtown shopping, dining, and entertainment, such as the public library and parks. The location is hard to beat!
What do HOA Dues cost at The Commons?
The Los Gatos Commons home owner association dues start at about $450 and are more for larger units. Two recent 2 bed sales have had $507 monthly fees, and one had a $520 monthly fee. The fee covers things like common area maintenance, cable/dish services, and water.
What senior services are included?
This is an independent living community, not assisted living, which means that there are no additional senior services, such as shuttle, cleaning, or meal plans, available to residents outside of the normal HOA features such as landscaping and exterior maintenance. That being said, the HOA does organize outings and events for those in the community who wish to participate.
Positives and Negatives
Well known positives for The Los Gatos Commons are the wonderful location, beautifully kept grounds, security features, easy lifestyle and low maintenance, the use of the pool and spa, tennis court, workout room, clubhouse, and the senior community. While not inexpensive, the cost of buying a condo at the Commons is less than it might be for a comparable condominium that would not be in a seniors community – and that is a significant plus, too.
Potential negatives may be the relatively expensive HOA cost, road noise from Highway 17, not having an attached garage (for the majority of units), having 40 + year old construction, and and upcoming construction at Alberto Way and Los Gatos-Saratoga Road.
Originally posted December 07, 2006, updated Aug 2014 and Mar 2020.
Fairview Plaza feels like a step back in time – and in many ways, it is. This little neighborhood is so quaint and unique that it seems perfect for a movie set. Located close to downtown and equally close to huge expanses of open space, it enjoys its own park, has an interesting history and is enough off the beaten path that it goes largely undisturbed.
In 1880, Frank McCullough came to Los Gatos and bought 166 acres of prime real estate. From that land, in 1915 he donated a parcel to become a park, now Fairview Plaza Park. At one time it included playground equipment and a bird sanctuary too. Today it’s a little more congested with cars on the street, but it’s still quite pleasant. This little park is the heart of the neighborhood. Have a look at the video to get a feel for the area, then continue reading for more info on the neighborhood.
Being an older part of town, Fairview Plaza is an official historic district for the town. It gets some special attention for this, but also some restrictions so that the character of the neighborhood is not harmed by bad remodeling or additions.
A prized part of Fairview Plaza is not actually visible from the street. Tucked behind the other homes is the Clara Huntington Perkins house, which was designed by Julia Morgan in about 1918-1919.
To get to Fairview Plaza, you have two choices. You can make use of a walkway / staircase that rises from Bayview and makes a direct connection to the neighborhood, or you can arrive there via Pennsylvania Avenue, Fairview Avenue, and then Fairview Plaza. The street is really an enormous cul-de-sac, with no “through traffic.” But unlike the cul-de-sacs of suburbia, this one is an entire community unto itself. Make a visit up there and rest a bit in the community park. You will enjoy pretty architecture but also a glimpse back in time. Enjoy!
Creekside Village is one of the youngest subdivisions in Los Gatos, and it’s located in a prime “walk to town” neighborhood with the highly prized Los Gatos schools. As the name implies, this community of houses sits alongside the scenic Los Gatos Creek (the Los Gatos Creek Trail is on the far side of the water from these properties). All of these factors make the Creekside Village neighborhood a very attractive option for house hunters.
This subdivision was built by Barry Swenson with prefab or manufactured housing between 2005 and 2006 on the former site of a mobile home park. There are 60 homes, ranging in size from 1251 square feet to 1747 SF (average home size is 1503 SF). Lots are mostly smaller, ranging from 1845 to 8909 SF, with the average parcel being 2846. Garages are either single car or 2 car tandem. While the houses are not big, the interiors are beautifully appointed and there’s nothing modest feeling about them in that regard.
All homes are on Creekside Village Drive and are assigned the 95032 zip code. It’s a very tidy community and includes a home owner’s association for the shared amenities such as the clubhouse, pool, workout room, private road, and parking.
There are pros and cons to every neighborhood. In the case of Creekside Village neighborhood, the negatives are that it’s situated very close to Highway 17 and also Highway 9 (Los Gatos-Saratoga Road). Some home buyers may not like that the lots are narrow, mostly forcing single car garages, with houses quite close together.
What do homes in Creekside Village cost?
Three sold in this neighborhood over the last year (as of the writing of this article, March 2020) at $1,565,000, at $1,575,000, and at $1,730,000. Inventory doesn’t come up often in this area. For downtown Los Gatos, this is bargain real estate pricing!
The very first subdivision or planned neighborhood in Los Gatos was along Broadway and nearby (Clifton Avenue, Broadway Extension and Wood Road), now the Historic Broadway Area (or Neighborhood or District). There had already been quite a few houses built at that time in Los Gatos, but none were planned areas per se. The Town of Los Gatos has called this the first residential street of Los Gatos! John Lyndon was the developer and he bought the land and created 48 parcels which were sold in September 1881 – a good six years before the far larger Almond Grove district was created and 6 years before the town was incorporated, too. A few homes in this area may already have been present, though, and seem to predate the 1881 date.
No doubt, Mr. Lyndon’s real estate buying decision was at least partially influenced by the location of his Lyndon Hotel, a whose bar was a popular hangout for the likes of John Steinbeck and Charlie Chaplain, which was located at the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Broadway, and now is the Lyndon Plaza (since sadly the hotel was torn down in the 1960s).
What was once a fairly quiet end of town is today mostly in the heart of it. The area closest to the post office enjoys a wide road (if desperately in need of repair), a good variety of Victorian and mostly older, historic homes, and is very uniformly well kept. Because it is either “in town” or “close to town”, the road is lined with cars most days – perhaps also because these houses of course pre-dated garages.
Historic Broadway Area Photos
Where is the Broadway Historic District in Los Gatos?
The Town of Los Gatos has a Historic Districts Map – have a look:
Broadway neighborhood of Los Gatos real estate information
The Town of Los Gatos is home to many lovely neighborhoods with historic homes (Broadway Area Historic District, Fairview Plaza and others), but perhaps none is so quaint or popular as the Almond Grove neighborhood. (See video drive through this neighborhood near the bottom of this article.)
Location, location, location: the Almond Grove’s got it
The location itself could be very compelling alone as the Almond Grove neighborhood is as much “in town” as “walk to town” with so many activities and opportunities happening along North Santa Cruz Avenue, Main Street and University Avenue – all a stone’s throw away. Quite vibrant, downtown Los Gatos enjoys an inordinate amount of restaurants, shops, coffee houses, bars, places to dine , taste wine, stroll or take in a film. It’s also home to free musical concerts in the summer, a parade in December, a gorgeous new public library, a Farmer’s Market every weekend and many other events year round. Finally, the Almond Grove is set near two parks, Bachman Park and the Los Gatos Town Plaza, so there’s a good amount of open space nearby too. There’s something for everyone!
Traditionally designed neighborhood with good community results
The allure of the Almond Grove is more than convenience, though. There’s an old time friendliness that seems to come with the big, welcoming front porches on so many of the older houses. Dwellings are also set closer together than one might find in suburbia, too. Rather than live so much in the privacy of the backyard, there’s an invitation implicit with this combination of close neighbors and a front porch that seems to underscore that residents are part of the neighborhood community and a bit less secluded.
The Almond Grove displays that sense of community from October to January especially, when it steps out as the best decorated corner of Los Gatos with a huge percentage of participation in the effort. Halloween is a great example. People’s enthusiasm is evident in by the beginning of October as props come out for the spookiest day of the year. Sometimes even in September, “Land of the Giant” sized spiders begin to appear, life-sized ghosts start to swing from porches and trees, the normally tidy and trim picket fences become smudged with spider webs, and every manner of Halloween decor drapes the district. On Halloween night, the Almond Grove district becomes positively overrun with enthusiastic kids from all over Los Gatos. I’ve been told that some homes get as many as 1,000 trick-or-treaters on Halloween night there.
As is the case virtually everywhere else, Los Gatos has many coronavirus cancellations for upcoming events. In the last week, the number of cases of Covid-19, or the novel coronavirus, in Santa Clara County has tripled, and the county has responded by increasingly restricted the number of people who may assemble, from 1000 to 250 to 100 (under several strict conditions) over just a few days. The government, as well as business owners, religious leaders, educators, another others are cancelling all optional events. Doctors are telling us to postpone non essential surgeries. The message: as much as possible, do social distancing. Stay home, stay away from others – especially crowds where you cannot keep 3′ or better, 6′ away from everyone else.
To that end, most religious, educational, and secular gatherings are closed – part of a huge movement of coronavirus cancellations.
The Library will be closed to the public beginning March 14, 2020 until further notice.
Town administrative public counters will be available by appointment only beginning March 16, 2020 until further notice.
All public meetings scheduled for the week of March 16 through March 20 (except for the Town Council meeting) are cancelled.
The March 17, 2020 Town Council agenda has been updated to include only consent items on the agenda and the Town encourages the public to abide by Public Health guidance and avoid public gatherings.
Other coronavirus cancellations or schedule changes in Los Gatos this season
The Great Race – cancelled
The Los Gatos Wine Walk – spring Wine Walk cancelled (see you in October?)
Mountain Winery Crab Dinner (Mar 15) – cancelled
Cat’s Hill Bicycle Race (Mar 21) – cancelled
Generally, groups of 100 are more are prohibited, but all large gatherings are discouraged, so most events will be cancelled. Please check whichever event it is you are interested in with that host.
Los Gatos school closings and online learning due to the coronavirus
This situation is changing daily, so please check with whichever district or private school applies for your child. Overall, schools are closed for anywhere from 2-4 weeks as of this writing. Some are going to online learning.
For public schools, whether elementary, middle, or high school level, all are following the county’s requirement to shut the doors for the time being. Most appear to be closing school for 3 weeks, then continuing with the spring break, and re-opening on April 13th, after the break. It does not appear that public school students will have any distance learning or online education. (Many of the private schools will have distance learning employed.)
Campbell Union School District – (link is to COVID 19 statement) – “The County Superintendent of Schools announced today that all public schools in the county will close from March 16 – April 3. Consequently, Campbell Union School District will close schools to students until April 13. This includes our week of spring break.”
Union School District – (link is to COVID 19 statement) – “The Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools and all county district superintendents have decided to close schools for three weeks from Monday, March 16, 2020, through April 3, 2020….At this time we will adhere to our current calendar for spring break, which is the week of April 6, 2020, with an anticipated return date of April 13, 2020.”
Loma Prieta Joint Union School District– (link is to COVID 19 statement) Same schedule as above, 3 week closure of the school per the county, followed by normal spring break before classes are anticipated to resume.
St. Mary’s (Catholic school) – The Catholic Diocese of San Jose is closing all schools from March 13 through Friday March 27. The schools throughout the diocese, including St. Mary’s in Los Gatos, will be implementing “distance learning” beginning Monday March 16. (The school’s website says nothing, but I did know to check the DSJ site.)
Hillbrook School (private) – Hillbrook will be implementing a distance learning program also (per popup on the website) “Hillbrook School campus will close and in-person classes will be suspended starting Monday, March 16. Our distance learning program will begin Tuesday, March 17 and continue through Friday, April 3. We plan to reopen campus and resume on-campus learning on Monday, April 13.”
Los Gatos Christian School – I don’t see anything on the school’s website regarding cancellation of classes (or distance learning). However, it’s attached to Venture Christian Church, and on that site it did mention the school being closed. “LGCS will not hold classes on campus during this time. Visit lgcs.org for pertinent details and specific information related to the school.” (But the website says nothing as of this writing.)
JCC or Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos – (link to COVID-19 statement) “The JCC has shut down for two weeks, starting March 13, in an effort to protect against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). At the end of March we will evaluate the situation and determine whether to re-open at that time. ”
I know that there are other educational institutions, from pre-school to high school, not listed here. Please check your particular institution or district, especially if you did not get correspondence from your own school on this matter.
This Los Gatos real estate article was originally written in 2007 but updated in late August 2015 and again in March 2020. Some of the photos are from the original post and some from 2015. – mph
One of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Los Gatos is the Edelen District, also called the University District. Originally a vineyard just north of the town’s school (where Old Town stands today), this residential neighborhood runs alongside the Los Gatos Creek to University Avenue or North Santa Cruz. Streets include University Avenue (south of Highway 9), Miles, Miller, and Edelen Avenues. (For more information on the location, please visit the town of Los Gatos’ statement on the Edelen District, ordinance 2168 on the University/Edelen District).
This officially designated historic area also once included homes downhill (off Miles), along the banks of the Los Gatos Creek. But frequent flooding made that untenable. Now the lower area, by the edge of the Los Gatos Creek, is home to the town’s recycling center, truck yard and car lot as well as the parks department’s building (Department of Parks and Public Works). And it houses the relocated Maria’s Berry Farm buildings too (formerly near Highway 17 and Lark Avenue and moved when Highway 85 was constructed in the early 90’s).
Filled with beautiful Victorian homes, many built in the late 1800s, the Edelen District boasts an incredible proximity to downtown Los Gatos (as does the Almond Grove, but this area is even closer “in”). The streets are tree-lined and delightful looking, and most owners clearly prize their distinctive and historically important homes and have restored and maintained them lovingly. This is a highly prized bunch of Los Gatos real estate!
For visitors to the Edelen District, parking is a pain. Most of the area is permit parking only, 24 hours a day. And it makes sense. These residences were constructed largely without garages in mind. The folks who live there need to park at home without competing for space with visitors to Old Town or other downtown draws. To further protect this area from undesired traffic, Miller Avenue is closed to automobile traffic where it intersects with Edelen. Shoppers are therefore not tempted to park illicitly.
There are countless architectural treasures in this area, but let’s have a peek at just a couple so you can get a flavor of the neighborhood. (Thanks in advance to the fabulous book, Los Gatos Observed by Alastair Dallas (not an affiliate link or sponsored ad, I just really enjoyed this book!) and to the Town of Los Gatos for its Hooked on History Project, sponsored by the Los Gatos Library and History Museum).
The home I photographed in August 2015 at the upper right is at 129 Edelen Avenue. It’s a gorgeous Queen Anne Victorian and was built in 1892. Because of the large bushes and trees, it is difficult to get a clear view of the home today framed in one photograph. The “Hooked on History” project of Los Gatos has a wonderful historic photo on its site, with a better view of the house as well as an interesting history of The Skinkle House as it is sometimes called!
Directly across the street is another gorgeous house, located at 130 Edelen Avenue. It was built in 1886 and has been the setting for a movie featuring Orson Welles (shot in 1970) and a television show. It, too, is a gracious Queen Ann Victorian with lots of splendid detailing. This was the winter residence of John Miles, a founder and developer of this district, and is sometimes called the Miles House.
My suggestion for seeing this historic neighborhood is to park at the public lot behind the newer section of Old Town, stroll down University Avenue to Miller and walk down the street to Edelen. Cars cannot pass through the intersection, but pedestrians can. Enjoy a leisurely walk up the tree lined street and then turn back toward University on Miles Avenue.
Bring your camera!
Photo slideshow of Edelen Avenue historic homes
Homes for sale in the Edelen or University Historic neighborhood in Los Gatos
Below please view any homes for sale in this historic Los Gatos neighborhood by map or by list view through the link.