But after years of bickering between the Navy, NASA and preservationists, a new idea has emerged that federal officials say could restore the hangar as long as its use is tied to its original aerospace-related purpose. And the winning bidder does not need a link to NASA's scientific missions, as is usually required for leases of Moffett's buildings. It will be made possible by a provision in the National Historic Preservation Act, section 111, that allows historic buildings such as Hangar One to be used for their original purpose.
This new policy almost certainly will bring Google's founders back into the picture with their offer to restore Hangar One for upwards of $30 million, the cost of restoring the siding. By doing so, they will be able to house their fleet of corporate jets inside the hangar and to use the airfield. The Google planes earned that right earlier by being available for NASA experiments, but that work will no longer be necessary if the company submits the winning bid on Hangar One. A request for proposals is expected to be released this spring. It is expected that the lease will be at least 25 years, which finally would close a volatile chapter in the life of Hangar One. NASA also will allow bidders to propose to take over Moffett's runway operations, saving NASA millions a year to run its flight tower.
In a structure the size of Hangar One, there should be plenty of room for the Google founders' fleet as well as a niche for the world class museum advocated for by the Earth, Air and Space Educational Foundation, which Google said it could accommodate in an earlier offer to reskin the hangar.
We hope the community's input will be considered in this process and that Hangar One can once again be enjoyed by the public, as it was during air shows and other public events in the past.
None of this will be possible until the General Services Administration and NASA completes a deal with Google's founders that will restore Hangar One to its rightful place in the history of the South Bay.
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