Planners will consider a request tonight from the owners of a building located at 114 Royce St. in downtown Los Gatos to allow offices on the ground floor.
However, before recommending such use, they will have to decide whether changing the town's zoning code in Los Gatos' central business district is a good idea.
The commercial area features a variety of retail businesses that cater to visitors on foot and it restricts offices to protect the prime retail locations that have made the area one of the most popular shopping destinations in the South Bay.
San Jose-based Hallway Partners LLC has owned the small building since 2007, which has commercial uses on the ground level and a small apartment on the second floor.
Located on Royce Street, between Santa Cruz and University avenues, it has four tenants and two vacancies in six spaces that include the Hearing Aid Device Company, the Len's Barber Shop and O Spa Salon.
The problem is that in the time Hallway Partners has owned the building there have been no lessees in one of the vacant spots, and the building owner has received 69 inquiries from possible lessees in the past four years, with 47 of them requesting office space.
Allowing office use on the building's bottom floor will bring customers to benefit Santa Cruz Avenue retailers, the building's owners said. They explained amending the code will add service professionals such as consultants, psychotherapists, lawyers, designers and others, which will bring clients who will patronize the nearby restaurants and shops.
The building owners said they've had to pass on office tenants only to have the space sit vacant, and that modifying the town's code will allow them fill their empty spaces and bring pedestrians to the downtown area.
If the zone is amended by the Los Gatos Town Council at a future meeting, the C-2 zone will permit personal service businesses and office activities with a conditional-use permit at the rear of the building, which won't have street frontage.
Currently, office activities in the area are allowed on Lyndon Avenue, properties abutting Wood Road, the west side of Victory Lane and the south side of Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, with some exceptions. They're also permitted on the east side of South Santa Cruz Avenue across from Wood Road and the north and south side of West Main Street west of Victory Lane.
According to Marni Moseley, an associate planner with the Town of Los Gatos, there are about 1,800 square feet in the back of the building that encompass two suites, which are accessed through the rear.
If the request is granted, the owners could split the suites into several offices, Moseley explained.