Through a stroke of good luck, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte was able to close a deal for a new property at the corner of California Street and Showers Drive, purchasing a commercial building that was formerly home to Aruna Spa, which closed its doors on March 11. The building still has the Kumon Learning Center and Manpower, an employment agency, leasing the property.
The Silicon Valley Business Journal reported that Planned Parenthood purchased the roughly 8,000-square-foot property for $6.7 million late last month.
Proponents for the clinic, including Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian, rallied to keep Planned Parenthood operating in Mountain View in February last year, offering county resources to help the nonprofit find a suitable spot to relocate ahead of being evicted. Mountain View city staff also aided in the real estate search.
Losing the Mountain View clinic, advocates argued, would have left a void for pregnancy and sexual health services for woman and girls in the North County area. The clinic also serves thousands of lower-income residents who are on the county-operated Valley Health Plan and rely on Planned Parenthood as a close and convenient location for primary care.
Planned Parenthood Mar Monte officials are excited for the move, which will mean more space for clinical services a stone's throw from the current location, said Lupe Rodriguez, public affairs director for the organization. Renovations are expected to begin "very soon," she said, with plans to fully relocate by next year.
"Hopefully we'll be able to open and continue operations by 2019," she said. "We don't expect to lose our current lease ... so we're hoping that we can move without any gaps."
With more room to grow, Planned Parenthood has tentatively agreed to partner with county health officials to share the new building and allow patients to tap into county health services. Although details still need to be hammered out, the plan is to carve out a 1,500-square-foot portion of the new clinic space for county health services to operate within the same building, filling health needs like specialty care that Planned Parenthood can't provide.
Simitian, who points out that his supervisorial district is the only one without a county health clinic, said the thousands of patients who rely on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Mountain View would benefit from specialty care services that are in high demand, particularly things like orthopedics, ophthalmology and dermatology.
Initially, Simitian had sought to have Santa Clara County find and secure a property in Mountain View that it could operate as a clinic, whereby it could sublease to Planned Parenthood and keep the nonprofit in town. At one point, the county was considering acquiring a bank property on San Antonio road adjacent to the San Antonio Shopping Center.
Simitian told the Voice that it was Planned Parenthood Mar Monte that was able to successfully find a new property on its own, and now county officials are seeking to sublease the property. The model he sought to use still works, Simitian said, albeit completely flipped.
"Sometimes in life things work out exactly as you've planned, only the total opposite. And that's exactly what's happened," he said.
Last month, city zoning staff signed off on a provisional use permit requested by Planned Parenthood to use the property as a medical office, allowing the clinic to operate with 28 parking spaces instead of the 31 spaces typically required for the use. The exemption was granted, in part, because of the clinic's close proximity to transit and a survey showing 12 percent of the clients either walked or took public transportation to get to Planned Parenthood.
Rodriguez encouraged city staff at the March 14 administrative zoning hearing to approve the permit, and said Planned Parenthood looks forward to continuing its long track record of providing reproductive health services and primary care for Medi-Cal recipients in Mountain View.
"We have been in the community for over 20 years serving Mountain View and face having to move to another location, and we would love to be able to serve this community and the more than 9,000 patients here," she said.
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