White House: NASA responsible for Hangar One

With no restoration funds, structure will be left a bare skeleton in November

The federal government has concluded that NASA Ames will have to pay for any restoration of historic Hangar One on its own and without the Navy's help, leaving the structure with no designated restoration funding even as it faces partial demolition later this year.

The decision, released Friday, caps months of review by the White House Office of Management and Budget, which last year took over negotiations between NASA and the Navy over how to pay for renovating the iconic 200-foot-tall structure, slated to be de-skinned this November as part of the Navy's clean-up obligations at Moffett Field.

The OMB's conclusion puts the situation back to where it was last year, when NASA said it could not afford the $15 million-plus to re-skin Hangar One. This year the NASA Ames Research Center is seeing a substantial increase in funding, but has not commented on whether it can now afford to re-skin the hangar.

Hangar One's siding is layered with PCBs and asbestos, and the Navy is in contract to have the siding completely removed in November to meet EPA standards. As a result of community pressure, the Navy will stop short of completely removing the skeletal frame.

Preservationists say that unless funding is provided by Congress or someone else -- perhaps a private developer allowed to restore and lease out the hangar -- it appears that the massive skeletal frame will be left to the elements come November. That situation is opposed by every elected official in the area.

The OMB's decision was announced by Navy representative Kathryn Stewart in a March 5 e-mail: "This is to inform you that the OMB arbitration process has concluded. The outcome of the OMB process was a determination that the Navy is responsible for environmental cleanup actions, and NASA is responsible for Hangar One reuse and residing. Navy and NASA will continue to work together to determine the most appropriate path forward for coordinating the Navy's cleanup activities with NASA's reuse."

The two parties originally had been negotiating directly, but last year, after NASA began to fear it was taking on too many obligations in the deal, those talks broke down and negotiations were sent to the OMB in hopes that a workable solution could be found.

On his blog at, Moffett Field Restoration Advisory Board member Steve Williams wrote that "those of us who want to see Hangar One re-skinned must now get Congress to appropriate the money to NASA, or we must work to find the money from other sources. Yep, after years of effort, our work has just begun."

The Moffett RAB is set to discuss Hangar One this Thursday, March 11 at 7 p.m. in Building 943, located just outside the Moffett main gate.


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Posted by phm
a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 8, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Maybe economic stimulous money can be found. The reskinning and renovation of Hanger One would create lots of jobs, I think. Who would need to apply for the funds - Mountain View and Sunnyvale, or NASA?

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Posted by Retired Naval Officer
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Let's be practical considering the present fiscal contraints. Government whether at the Federal or Local level can ill afford to expend scarce funds for a sentimental cause. I retired in Hanger One after serving a number of years in the old relic. I have always felt it was an eyesore and especially so when up close. I for one, would deem demolition to be the best choice in this matter.

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Posted by Bob
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Hey, Google is using Moffett as their private airstrip, let them pay for it. If not, then let's start anti-trust proceedings, heh, heh...

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Posted by John the Man
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2010 at 5:46 pm

What about upkeep costs? Who is going to pick up the tab on the on-going maintenance, upkeep, and repair that it will need? It's $15 million now, what about future costs? Who is going to pick them up?

Forget it. Let the people who feel it is worth saving pay for it. Believe me, a year after it is gone, no one will think, oh gosh.... our lives are appreciably worse because the hanger is no longer here.

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Posted by John doe
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 8, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Ummm why should society spend money to save this structure when 15 Million will save so many people from starvation and better society... There is no historic signifcance here other thatn it is OLD and it housed Military Aircraft.... Heck no civil rights or society milestones of significance..... I think nostalgic (white folks) have too much time.... GO spen you time and effor and build a homeless shelter or work in a soup kitchen and do some good.... Oh I forgot...these same people protest low cost housing in Downtown MV since it lowers their property value......

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Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 8, 2010 at 8:43 pm

I am so sorry to see so many responses saying, in effect, let the Hanger be torn down. I would like to see it restored and if it takes a public subscription to pay for the restoration, I'm willing to contribute.

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Posted by Jane Doe
a resident of Castro City
on Mar 8, 2010 at 10:35 pm

1000+ children die a day from starvation due to poverty (some in the USA)... I think public money should go to that instead...but hey we have this nice hanger to look at it.... I feel better about the 1000+ kids dying everyday or the 10000+ kids under the poverty line in the USA and Not enough people donating money to them....

Can't anyone in MV see how insane it is to spend money on Nostalgia when there are SOOO many more important and worthwhile causes to spend time, money and effort on?.... Heck I have seen booths at Art and Wine festivals for Hanger One get more donatoin money then the MV school booths.... That is such as sad comentary on MV residents...

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Posted by Catherine
a resident of Willowgate
on Mar 9, 2010 at 11:11 am

All of those who think it is a waste to spend money on historical preservation when so many humans are in need are right.

Why spend money on architects, designers, and art in general? We should have a national building architecture standard which lays out what a house should look like, what a six-story building should look like, etc. Then we can just build every single building we need to this efficient spec. We can even centralize purchasing of building materials through the federal government for maximum efficiency.

I propose we start this in Mountain View. Think of all the time we'd save in design reviews, etc. We'd be a model for the nation.

The French should have torn down the Eiffel Tower when they had the chance.

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Posted by John doe
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 9, 2010 at 11:29 am

Eiffle tower generates income and is self supporting.... Hanger one will cost money to restore and maintain since no one will need such a big hanger..... and as for your comment on archtiects and engineers..... you want to honor the same folks who decided to use asbestos on building a cheap hanger?

I agree with eailer posts.... preservationist are surely well fed and upper middle class.... live in poverty, stuggle with keeping a family housed for a while and tell me again that this is a worthwhile cause...... Eliminate this in the MV and become a Model for the nation for that....

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Posted by NeHi
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 9, 2010 at 4:39 pm

High density housing, anyone??

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Posted by Just Say'in
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Seems as if this thing has survived many earthquakes and might be useful for sheltering large numbers of people in the event of another one. Why not turn it into a convention center? Or how about a high speed rail terminal?

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Posted by jane
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm

To categorize those who appreciate the amazing archtecture as people who are taking money away from starving children makes no sense at all. As with any cause, if you do not research it, you often do not appreciate it. It will take enormous amounts of money to tear off the siding, and that will have to happen. Then much more money to demolish the hangar. Whay not spend the money on restoring the hangar instead of demolishing it? This hangar is an icon of the Bay Area with a rich history.
All people are concerned about starving children...who is NOT? To some of those who have commented about saving the hangar being equal to starving children: please devote your creative energies and hopes and ideas to that good cause without decrying that saving the hangar is a bad cause.
Let the people who think it is worth saving pay for it? Come one, if we use that logic on everything that we don't personally agree with then nothing would get done!
And as for booths at the art and wine festivals getting more money than schools - I have volunteered in many booths at the art and wine festivals - Save Hangar One, MVVP, candidate booths, picked up recycling, and NEVER has there been a booth asking for donations to save hangar one. You are always free to donate to schools, and many people do - I have also participated in phone banks asking for school donations. So do not generalize that wanting to preserve a historical building means that there is an intent to take money from children... does not follow and reports about donating to save hangar one at the Art and WIne are just not true- it was a petition.

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Posted by levelItAll
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 11, 2010 at 12:16 am

there are dozens, if not hundreds, of structures on the national registry of historic places in Santa Clara County: Web Link

Hangar One is just outside the Air Station Sunnyvale Historical District (which includes most of the old Spanish style architecture on Moffett Field), I believe. The other on Moffett Field is the Unitary Wind Tunnel, which has historic technical significance due to some of the groundbreaking work done there. However, Hangar One is arguable the most recognizable, enduring symbol of the Bay Area's aviation past. Losing it would literally be losing a significant piece of the area's history. The orchards are gone. The P3s are gone, soon people will think the area began in a small garage in Palo Alto (which, by the way, needs to be demolished as well;) Hard to justify the expense of restoration, but even harder to see the area lose such a great testament to the bold aviation past of the area. The photos of Hangar One with the Macon moored alongside truly add perspective to what will be lost (aka... 'seriously, are those model A's parked on that dirt road? and is that dirt road really 101?!). Maybe not starving kids sad, but sad nonetheless.

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I'm continually amazed at the reasoning of people who dismiss single-payer health care as Stalinism but insist on using public monies for useless military nostalgia. Whatever government entity built it should be responsible for dealing with it.

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Posted by Brenda
a resident of North Whisman
on Mar 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Time to say goodbye to this monstrosity.

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Posted by Citizen
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Notice how everything involving NASA is suddenly getting the shaft? Notice how this all seemed to start around the time a certain someone was elected into office and started making decisions as to the future of NASA? And who's job is it gonna be to remove the skeletal structure after the sea air causes it to corrode and rust at an extreme rate? That's more taxpayer money(OUR MONEY, YOUR MONEY, MY MONEY) to be spent. Millions more. Chances are the cost to completely remove and dispose the remaining structure after the U.S. Government allows it become a real eyesore instead of a REAL monument will outweigh any costs that would have been required to restore it. Especially since once metallic objects have become corroded by sea air they aren't the most salvageable and recyclable parts. Obviously Management and Budget aren't performing proper management or budgeting skills. Than again Obama will be out of office when that part happens so whatever party loses in the next campaign will be blaming our next president for it. But it's okay cause we can't afford to restore a historical monument to our country but Obama can afford to go on vacation to another continent every other month.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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