Midpen Office Building

(Paul Kvam)

Midpen closed escrow on a larger office building Feburary 1, 2019 to meet its long-term office space needs. The newly purchased building underwent reconfiguration to allow Midpen to serve the public and continue fulfilling its mission.

Need for More Office Space

Midpen’s success in growing the regional greenbelt has created an office space issue for the District. Since voters created the District in 1972, Midpen's focus has grown from primarily acquiring land for preservation to a more balanced delivery of its mission that also includes restoration and stewardship of natural resources, opening land for public enjoyment and education and supporting sustainable agriculture on the San Mateo County coast. Midpen has been leasing additional office space since 2013 to house the staff necessary to accommodate this growth.

Assets and Organizational Support
Organization Support

Fiscally Responsible Long-term Solution 

As a forward-thinking and fiscally prudent public agency, Midpen planned for its long-term office space needs by setting aside general reserve funds. After exploring alternatives, including renovating or rebuilding the current office, the Midpen Board of Directors determined purchasing a larger building and selling the current one to be the most cost-efficient and environmentally sound long-term solution.

At a public meeting in October 2020, the Midpen board of directors approved a contract to sell Midpen's old office building to the County of Santa Clara for $10.4 million. Escrow is expected to close in March 2022. The County plans to partner with the City of Los Altos to create affordable housing on the site. 

Compared to tearing down the current office to construct a more suitable multi-story facility, purchasing the nearby building is more cost-effective when rising construction costs, increased leasing costs and lost productivity during construction are considered. A single office building located centrally in Midpen's service area is also more advantageous than leasing or purchasing satellite offices with rapidly increasing rent and transportation time costs, and impacts to the environment considered.



On February 1, 2019 Midpen closed escrow on a 39,000-square-foot, two-story building across the street from Midpen’s current office. The purchase price of $31.5 million will be partially offset by the sale of the existing building, no longer needing to lease additional office space and rental income from space in the new building not needed in the near term. Measure AA bond funds are restricted for land preservation, restoration and public access projects and were not used to purchase the building.


Reconfiguring and Repurposing

The newly purchased building required reconfiguration to meet Midpen’s needs. The building was divided into multiple private office suites, and lacked public meeting space and accessibility. Designs for the reconfiguration went through several iterations, with the Midpen board providing feedback at publicly-noticed meetings on specifics. The cost estimate for the current design is approximately $27 million. The repurposed building is expected to serve Midpen and the public for the long term.


July 2017Board of Directors authorizes purchase of 5050 El Camino Real
Aug. 2018Board of Directors awards a contract to complete an assessment and prepare schematic designs
Feb. 1, 2019Escrow Closes - 5050 El Camino Real
March 13, 2019Board of Directors review of preliminary schematic design
April 2019Board of Directors consider approval of preliminary schematic design
May 2019Board of Directors consider approval of final schematic design 
Spring 2019Design Development
Sept. 11, 2019Board of Directors to review current design plans
Oct. 9, 2019Board of Directors to review and consider approving design development and a cost estimate for repurposing the newly purchased building. Agenda and report.
Fall 2019Construction document development, environmental review, and permitting
Oct. 28, 2019Board of Directors to consider entering into contract for sale of current administrative office. Agenda and report.
Spring 2021Construction begins
Spring 2022Completion and moving in