Alta Vista neighborhood

Hills proximity to the Alta Vista neighborhoodAlta Vista is a scenic neighborhood which includes homes in both the Cambrian Park neighborhood and the Town of Los Gatos. For many reasons, this area is highly valued and sought after. For this article, we’ll focus on the neighborhood immediately adjacent to the school, not the entire “area of school attendance.”

What makes Alta Vista so attractive? First, it’s convenient. The high performing schools are easy to walk or bike to without crossing any major roads. Almost as close is a good-sized Safeway, a coffee shop, and other stores and eateries at the nearby Downing Center. It’s easy to get to Highway 85 from Union Avenue, too.  As a bonus, the location is popular because of it’s vicinity to Los Gatos with the lower price point of San Jose (for most of the neighborhood).

Second, it’s scenic. Alta Vista has its fair share of visual appeal as well, with many streets lined with beautiful and mature trees, Ross Creek running along one border, and views of the nearby Blossom Hill and coastal range behind it. South of Blossom Hill on the Los Gatos side, it’s not far to the foothills with their trails and parks. Yards and homes are well kept and tidy, as are the streets. Parking near the schools only becomes a problem during school functions a few times a year (and of course at drop off and pickup times).

Simply put, Alta Vista is a scenic neighborhood with great schools and a convenient location. That’s a winning combination.

Blossom Valley Drive home

Above and below: a couple of homes along Blossom Valley Drive.

Another Blossom Valley Drive house

 

To see some images of the neighborhood, feel free to check out the video slideshow just below – please note that this was made in 2009 for the first Alta Vista post on my other blog and that, while the neighborhood as a whole has not changed, things may look a little different. For instance, the new home construction shown in the slide looks much more attractive and lived in now that it has been a few years, and the shopping center has undergone some significant remodeling.

 

Please continue reading for a map of the Alta Vista neighborhood, major landmarks, info on the Alta Vista real estate market, homes for sale in Alta Vista, and more.

Read moreAlta Vista neighborhood

Ohlone Court

Ohlone Court, Los GatosLooking for a neighborhood with attractive, younger homes that’s still close to everything in Los Gatos? The properties along Ohlone Court fit the bill as the community sits along the Los Gatos Creek Trail, across from Vasona and Oak Meadow Parks, and is equally near to downtown Los Gatos on one side and the main shopping district on Los Gatos Boulevard on the other.

Built in 1996 by Summerhill Homes, a very well respected local builder, the residences on Ohlone Court are relatively young by Los Gatos standards, and feature many elements prized in newer construction, such as open floor plans. It’s a pretty area where the neighbors all seem to care about maintaining their homes and yards nicely,  and it enjoys the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools, too.

How’s the terrain? The road climbs from Roberts Road, where it is near the Los Gatos Creek, up a knoll. The top is of course sunny and some homes enjoy fantastic views. Some homes are nearer to the creek and toward the bottom of the hill, where it’s shadier. There’s an easy to miss staircase that allows pedestrians to take a shortcut to access Blossom Hill Road and the parks from the top of the court.

This is not a big subdivision. The 25 properties are mostly single family homes, but there are also a couple of duplexes. And the surprise element is that they are condominiums. That is, although most are houses, they are held in condominium ownership (local Realtors will recognize the same situation from the Villas of Almaden, though that community has the houses show up in the MLS under condos, whereas Ohlone Court appears under single family homes). Learn more on what the different type of ownership means here: What Is the Difference Between CID Ownership in a Condo, Townhouse or PUD?

A few weeks back, I did a “drive through” of the area.  My daughter was at the wheel so I could try to capture a sense of the neighborhood for my viewers.  Hope you find it helpful.

Every neighborhood has good and not-so-good features.  What’s the catch here?  It sounds too good to be true! One issue for some buyers is the close proximity of highway 17.  Not all homes are impacted, and only a few back up directly to the freeway, but it is noticeable. This is especially true when you’re high up as there’s nothing much to block the noise. One other issue is that some of the homes are in very shady locations at the bottom of the hill.  This may bother some people who want sunnier homes. Homes on the side of a hill or at the bottom of a hill sometimes have hill related water issues. These are not insurmountable problems but it’s very important to have good drainage, proper grading, and possibly other elements such as sump pumps to keep the water out from the crawl space.

Ohlone Court plat map
Above: Ohlone Court plat map.

Glenridge & Bachman Park neighborhood

The Glenridge neighborhood of Los Gatos s one of the most scenic residential areas anywhere in Silicon Valley. It features beautiful, custom, mostly historic homes on meandering streets. Set just above the Almond Grove neighborhood on a gentle hill it, too is close to town but with a little more altitude and better vistas.

Bachman Park is set in this area too and includes several acres alongside a creek. The park offers picnic tables, a playground, basketball courts and a large grassy field for picnics or play. A paved path follows the creek on one side of it – making a wonderful place just for strolling.

Where is the Glenridge area? What are the prices for Glenridge real estate?

This charming older Los Gatos neighborhood is set just up the hill from the Almond Grove Historic District and adjacent to Fairview Plaza.

Read moreGlenridge & Bachman Park neighborhood

Los Gatos Commons

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!

Los Gatos Commons Map

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.

 

More information on the Los Gatos Commons:

Ending the Alberto Way Confusion (article on this site)

Los Gatos Commons, Association
445 Alberto Way
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 378-1730

http://www.losgatosca.gov/1105/Senior-Housing

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(all data current as of 4/3/2020)

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Fairview Plaza neighborhood and historic district

Fairview Plaza - Los Gatos, California - Silicon ValleyOriginally 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.

Fairview Plaza pedestrian path shortcut to downtown Los GatosTo 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!

(And if you liked this video, please see http://www.YouTube.com/popehandy for more videos of Los Gatos neighborhoods.)

View homes for sale in the Fairview Plaza neighborhood

Below, browse available real estate listings in the Fairview Plaza neighborhood, the Glenridge neighborhood and the Almond Grove neighborhood – lovely residential areas with historic homes!

Fairview Plaza

Glenridge

Almond Grove

Creekside Village neighborhood

Creekside Village on Google MapsCreekside 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.

Creekside Village Plat Map - click to view larger imageWhat 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!

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The Almond Grove neighborhood in Los Gatos, a scenic and historic district

Map of the Almond Grove historic district in Los GatosThe 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

105 Tait Ave Los Gatos (Almond Grove district) built appx 1890The 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.

Read moreThe Almond Grove neighborhood in Los Gatos, a scenic and historic district