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NASA, Google ink deal for Hangar One, Moffett airfields

NASA announced today that officials signed a lease with Google's Planetary Ventures LLC to manage Moffett Federal Airfield and rehabilitate the landmark Hangar One.

The agreement comes more than three years after Google's top executives offered to restore the massive hangar built in the early 1930s. Planetary Ventures was awarded the lease in February, after offering to restore Hangar One in exchange for a long-term lease of the space in 2011.

The airfield property includes Hangars One, Two and Three, an airfield flight operations building, two runways and a private golf course, about 1,000 acres of land.

NASA officials framed the deal as a way to save money and rid the space agency of surplus property, although the land will remain in federal hands. The lease is estimated to save NASA approximately $6.3 million annually in maintenance and operation costs, and provide $1.16 billion in rent over the initial 60-year lease term, according to NASA spokeswoman Karen Nothon.

"We want to invest taxpayer resources in scientific discovery, technology development and space exploration -- not in maintaining infrastructure we no longer need," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a statement released Monday.

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According to the lease signed Monday, Nov. 10, Planetary Ventures plans to invest more than $200 million in improvements to the property and commits to restoring Hangar One, rehabilitating Hangars Two and Three and creating an educational facility where the public can explore the site's legacy and the role of technology in the history of Silicon Valley.

"We look forward to rolling up our sleeves to restore the remarkable landmark Hangar One, which for years has been considered one of the most endangered historic sites in the United States," said David Radcliffe, Google's vice president of real estate and workplace services, in a statement.

Lenny Siegel, a member of the Save Hangar One Committee who is on the board of a group aiming to build an air and space museum in Hangar One, said the lease is great news.

"We finally have assurance that Hangar One will be re-skinned, Moffett Field's facilities will be put to scientific use, and there will be a community-oriented educational center at Moffett Field," he told the Voice via email.

"There will be challenges, however," said Siegel, who was just elected to the Mountain View City Council. "I call upon Google, NASA, and adjacent communities to establish a Community Advisory Commission, similar to the one that worked successfully in 1997, to develop proposals for addressing the transportation and housing challenges associated with the reuse of Moffett Field."

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Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, a longtime supporter of efforts to save Hangar One, called the agreement "a major win."

"This significant and long-awaited victory ... honors Moffett Field and Hangar One as part of U.S. Naval history, while looking to the future by promoting research into space, aviation and other emerging technologies," Eshoo said in a statement.

The signed deal appears to mark the end of a long battle to preserve the historic 200-foot-tall home of the U.S.S. Macon. In 2003, the Navy had sought to tear down the landmark structure because of toxic lead, asbestos and PCBs in its frame paint and siding. Stripped of its siding, Hangar One now sits as a bare skeletal frame in need of an expensive restoration job expected to cost more than $40 million.

"We are fortunate to have had significant input from surrounding communities on setting a future path for Moffett Field," said Ames director S. Peter Worden. "With the involvement of the citizens of Mountain View and Sunnyvale, we are confident the results will benefit all parties."

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the deal. Consumer Watchdog posted criticism of the lease on its website, saying it wrongly rewards Google executives for what it calls "longstanding abuses" at Ames Research Center.

John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project, pointed out that last December a NASA audit found that H211's corporate jet fleet, owned by Google chairman Eric Schmidt and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, received an unwarranted discount of up to $5.3 million for its jet fuel purchases from the government.

"This is like giving the keys to your car to the guy who has been siphoning gas from your tank," said Simpson. "It is unfairly rewarding unethical and wrongful behavior. These Google guys seem to think they can do whatever they want and get away with it -- and, sadly, it looks like that is true."

While no "intentional misconduct" was found, the inspector general's report said that H211 paid only $2 million for jet fuel in 2012 that would have cost $3 million to $3.6 million if purchased at market rate at the San Jose Mineta International airport.

The report attributes the improper discount to a "misunderstanding" by fuel provider DLA-Energy, which operated under the assumption that the planes were being used for NASA research and could purchase it at a reduced rate for government contractors. But according to the report, only 26 percent of the 229 flights between August 2012 to July 2013 were for NASA missions. The other 170 were private flights.

Planetary Ventures won't get the keys to Moffett Federal Airfield just yet. NASA officials said it will assume operation of the site following the finalization of a joint plan with NASA, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.

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Andrea Gemmet was born and raised in the Midpeninsula and has been with the Mountain View Voice since 2010. She became editor of The Almanac in 2020, where she had previously worked as a reporter. Read more >>

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NASA, Google ink deal for Hangar One, Moffett airfields

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Nov 10, 2014, 1:55 pm

NASA announced today that officials signed a lease with Google's Planetary Ventures LLC to manage Moffett Federal Airfield and rehabilitate the landmark Hangar One.

The agreement comes more than three years after Google's top executives offered to restore the massive hangar built in the early 1930s. Planetary Ventures was awarded the lease in February, after offering to restore Hangar One in exchange for a long-term lease of the space in 2011.

The airfield property includes Hangars One, Two and Three, an airfield flight operations building, two runways and a private golf course, about 1,000 acres of land.

NASA officials framed the deal as a way to save money and rid the space agency of surplus property, although the land will remain in federal hands. The lease is estimated to save NASA approximately $6.3 million annually in maintenance and operation costs, and provide $1.16 billion in rent over the initial 60-year lease term, according to NASA spokeswoman Karen Nothon.

"We want to invest taxpayer resources in scientific discovery, technology development and space exploration -- not in maintaining infrastructure we no longer need," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a statement released Monday.

According to the lease signed Monday, Nov. 10, Planetary Ventures plans to invest more than $200 million in improvements to the property and commits to restoring Hangar One, rehabilitating Hangars Two and Three and creating an educational facility where the public can explore the site's legacy and the role of technology in the history of Silicon Valley.

"We look forward to rolling up our sleeves to restore the remarkable landmark Hangar One, which for years has been considered one of the most endangered historic sites in the United States," said David Radcliffe, Google's vice president of real estate and workplace services, in a statement.

Lenny Siegel, a member of the Save Hangar One Committee who is on the board of a group aiming to build an air and space museum in Hangar One, said the lease is great news.

"We finally have assurance that Hangar One will be re-skinned, Moffett Field's facilities will be put to scientific use, and there will be a community-oriented educational center at Moffett Field," he told the Voice via email.

"There will be challenges, however," said Siegel, who was just elected to the Mountain View City Council. "I call upon Google, NASA, and adjacent communities to establish a Community Advisory Commission, similar to the one that worked successfully in 1997, to develop proposals for addressing the transportation and housing challenges associated with the reuse of Moffett Field."

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, a longtime supporter of efforts to save Hangar One, called the agreement "a major win."

"This significant and long-awaited victory ... honors Moffett Field and Hangar One as part of U.S. Naval history, while looking to the future by promoting research into space, aviation and other emerging technologies," Eshoo said in a statement.

The signed deal appears to mark the end of a long battle to preserve the historic 200-foot-tall home of the U.S.S. Macon. In 2003, the Navy had sought to tear down the landmark structure because of toxic lead, asbestos and PCBs in its frame paint and siding. Stripped of its siding, Hangar One now sits as a bare skeletal frame in need of an expensive restoration job expected to cost more than $40 million.

"We are fortunate to have had significant input from surrounding communities on setting a future path for Moffett Field," said Ames director S. Peter Worden. "With the involvement of the citizens of Mountain View and Sunnyvale, we are confident the results will benefit all parties."

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the deal. Consumer Watchdog posted criticism of the lease on its website, saying it wrongly rewards Google executives for what it calls "longstanding abuses" at Ames Research Center.

John M. Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project, pointed out that last December a NASA audit found that H211's corporate jet fleet, owned by Google chairman Eric Schmidt and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, received an unwarranted discount of up to $5.3 million for its jet fuel purchases from the government.

"This is like giving the keys to your car to the guy who has been siphoning gas from your tank," said Simpson. "It is unfairly rewarding unethical and wrongful behavior. These Google guys seem to think they can do whatever they want and get away with it -- and, sadly, it looks like that is true."

While no "intentional misconduct" was found, the inspector general's report said that H211 paid only $2 million for jet fuel in 2012 that would have cost $3 million to $3.6 million if purchased at market rate at the San Jose Mineta International airport.

The report attributes the improper discount to a "misunderstanding" by fuel provider DLA-Energy, which operated under the assumption that the planes were being used for NASA research and could purchase it at a reduced rate for government contractors. But according to the report, only 26 percent of the 229 flights between August 2012 to July 2013 were for NASA missions. The other 170 were private flights.

Planetary Ventures won't get the keys to Moffett Federal Airfield just yet. NASA officials said it will assume operation of the site following the finalization of a joint plan with NASA, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Comments

Quiet please
Monta Loma
on Nov 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm
Quiet please , Monta Loma
on Nov 10, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Is anyone concerned about the potential sharp increase in aircraft movement? The current airfield has permits for a flight every 15 minutes or so - dramatically more that is currently in use. If Google starts operating this airfield as a commercial enterprise we are in for a LOT of additional noise.


Brent Callaghan
Cuesta Park
on Nov 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm
Brent Callaghan, Cuesta Park
on Nov 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm

The Moffett runways are a vastly underutilized resource at 4 movements per hour.
I'd support a significant increase in aircraft traffic. Note that most of the takeoffs
are out over the bay and landings approaches are at low engine power and relatively
quiet.

The civil aircraft (Gulfstream jets etc) are much quieter than the Guard helicopters
and fighter jets. Yes, the helicopters and jets can be noisy, but think we should
expect to tolerate some inconvenience from their live-saving and defense missions.


@Quiet please
Cuernavaca
on Nov 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm
@Quiet please, Cuernavaca
on Nov 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm

@Quiet please -- If you think the noise level is bad now, you obviously didn't live in the area back in the 1980's and 1990's. When you had the Navy patrol aircraft coming and going at all hours -- AND had all sorts of assorted aircraft doing the same -- let me tell you, it was LOUD.

So what is going on nowadays is nothing by comparison.


hmax
another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm
hmax, another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm

It's Google International...only private...hmmmmmmmmmm


nearby neighbor
Bailey Park
on Nov 10, 2014 at 7:16 pm
nearby neighbor, Bailey Park
on Nov 10, 2014 at 7:16 pm

dear mayor of googleville, please install a no u-turn sign at the intersection of shoreline blvd and terra bella for
all those folks who dont have their autonomous flying cars quite yet. drop by most any morning between 8 and 10 and you'll understand the problem.


PA Resident
another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 9:00 pm
PA Resident, another community
on Nov 10, 2014 at 9:00 pm

I am pleased that this is going through, but ask what Mountain View is going to do now about traffic getting to Moffett? If this is going to be more high tech people getting to more high tech jobs then now is the time to make plans for traffic, not once the traffic gets bad.


dollarbin
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Nov 11, 2014 at 12:03 am
dollarbin, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Nov 11, 2014 at 12:03 am

So will this deal provide public access to Hangar 1? "a community-oriented educational center at Moffett Field" is a pretty vague description. The hangar seems like the most interesting location for some kind of museum and/or public space.


P3 Orion
Gemello
on Nov 11, 2014 at 2:16 am
P3 Orion, Gemello
on Nov 11, 2014 at 2:16 am

P3 Orions doing touch & go's all day long, flying at treetop level.
U2 taking off like thunder at 1am (or was it 2am?)
It's a lot quieter & a lot less dusty now that they are gone. I don't think more flights will ever be as loud as those Orions.


Air Traffic Could Destroy MV
Martens-Carmelita
on Nov 11, 2014 at 3:02 am
Air Traffic Could Destroy MV, Martens-Carmelita
on Nov 11, 2014 at 3:02 am

The article is short on the chief concern for area residents: the prospect of noisy air traffic at Moffett - especially while day-shifters are trying to sleep. What happens to the hanger is trivial in comparison.


Name hidden
Bailey Park

on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:00 am
Name hidden, Bailey Park

on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:00 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Name hidden
Bailey Park

on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:00 am
Name hidden, Bailey Park

on Nov 11, 2014 at 4:00 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Fine James
Whisman Station
on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:28 pm
Fine James, Whisman Station
on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Seems to me that this will help get Google Fiber infused in our streets, which is always been a good goal of myself


Ann O'Minus
Old Mountain View
on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:32 pm
Ann O'Minus, Old Mountain View
on Nov 12, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Get with the program kid's deep pockets are the only answer to funding environmental abuse which was business as usual under USN management. Just think about the beauty of doing 18 holes in self driving golf carts that can spot your ball when you loose it in an old ordinance bunker. Think clean, reuse & renew. Save Hangar 1 ~ re-skin it with PV's and set the Loon's loose to the connect the planet wit via the interTube.

ann0minus ~ "Stop peeping threw windows & start walking through doors." Up Ship ^


Betty Moore Gregory
another community
on Nov 13, 2014 at 11:26 pm
Betty Moore Gregory, another community
on Nov 13, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Oh my, I can remember back in the early 1940s when the aircraft carriers came into S.F. Bay they had the planes fly to Moffett Field so they were not sitting ducks. My little brother and I would watch flight after flight overhead come in for landings We lived on Rengstorff. We saw the most beautiful, awesome planes. We also saw the blimps take off and land. Before we moved in the late 1950's, we saw and heard many wonderful jet aircraft, but though they were noisy they did not disturb us. Be grateful that the old hanger is being put to good use.


@pr orion
Monta Loma
on Nov 20, 2014 at 1:12 pm
@pr orion, Monta Loma
on Nov 20, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Good God, i remember those days when those Oriens would fly by every 15min, you could tell not only by the noise, but also by the shaking of the dishes on the walls. :) The cold wars is now over thank God, but now we have the enemy within to deal with.


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