The Morrissey-Compton Educational Center, a Palo Alto nonprofit assisting children and adults with learning disabilities, relocated to Redwood City on May 27, after receiving notice of eviction due to redevelopment.
In June 2013, Morrissey-Compton was informed that its offices at 2555 Park Blvd. were slated for demolition as part of a California Avenue revitalization project. After 32 years in Palo Alto, the organization moved to 595 Price Ave., Redwood City last week, phone numbers remaining the same. Plans for a new three-story office building at its former location are currently under review.
"The cost of Palo Alto real estate has risen to a degree that would make it challenging for us to afford, (and we) learned that local landlords were not willing to provide special consideration to a nonprofit organization," John Brentar, executive director of Morrissey-Compton, wrote in a statement.
Founded in 1982 by Carolyn Compton and Patricia Morrissey, the organization provides diagnostics, treatment and consultation services for individuals with learning disabilities, developmental disorders, ADHD and mental health conditions.
"We also discovered that many landlords did not want children in their buildings (or) were not interested in long-term leases," Brentar said. He added that many were not willing to build private offices, preferring instead large, open floor plans often desired by tech companies.
The organization reviewed 15 potential locations, including properties in Mountain View and Redwood City.
"Eventually we found the location at 595 Price Ave. and a landlord willing to work with us," Brentar said. "We're sad to be leaving our home ... in Palo Alto, but we are excited about the opportunities."
Morrissey-Compton's new, larger space will allow for both expansion of current services and development of new programs. One new tutoring initiative focuses on executive functioning, the set of "higher order processing skills kids use in school," such as planning and organizing, Brentar explained. "There are lots of kids who never pick (these skills) up."
The new location will also provide the space and funding for more therapists and expansion of group therapy, while a single building will consolidate offices previously distributed between multiple buildings at the Park Boulevard address, he said.
Some clients have voiced concern over the increased travel time from Palo Alto, but at the same time, "several have realized the new office's convenience right off of (U.S Highway) 101. The biggest challenge is the high school students who used to bike (to Morrissey-Compton) from school." However, the new location has allowed for more flexibility, and many specialists have been able to readjust their schedules to meet clients' needs.
"We would be paying three times more (for the lease) if we stayed in Palo Alto," Brentar said. "We now have the freedom to focus on what we do best (and) we can put more money toward scholarships."
Meanwhile, the proposed single-tenant office building at 2555 Park Blvd. underwent a preliminary review on Thursday, according to City of Palo Alto Senior Planner Russ Reich. The proposal by Fergus Garber Young Architects (FGY Architects) will replace the existing two-story 8,675-square-foot structure with a three-story 23,269-square-foot building, including three floors of open office space and a rooftop terrace.
Machine parking, using hydraulic lifts, on the ground and basement levels will accommodate 89 cars total, plus four accessible spaces. The seven lifts by Klaus Multiparking could be operated simultaneously, each with two or three stacked rows of parking stalls, according to the city.
The addition of the proposed project, scheduled for completion in 2015, is not predicted to significantly impact traffic conditions, according to a 2013 traffic study prepared for FGY Architects by Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.