News

An epic undertaking to restore Hangar One

Team lays out five-year plan to clean, re-skin iconic structure

Nearly 200 feet tall and the length of three football fields, Hangar One at Moffett Field is truly a gigantic structure. And true to its size, a plan to restore it faces some big challenges.

At a public meeting last week, representatives gave a walk-through of their plans to purge a variety of toxic contaminants from the hangar and eventually rehabilitate the structure for future use.

This first stage of the proposed cleanup plan is estimated to take at least three years and cost more than $157 million, which is expected to be paid entirely by Google's subsidiary Planetary Ventures. The price is daunting, but it's likely accurate given the huge scale of the cleanup effort, which would require $54 million just for temporary scaffolding, said John-Michael Phelps, Planetary Ventures project manager.

"As everything else is in the Bay Area, it's extremely expensive to do anything," he said. "Those are the most accurate numbers we had to go with. They're not padded."

The restoration project could be record-breaking in other ways. Speakers at the meeting opined that restoring Hangar One may be the largest cleanup effort of its kind ever attempted. The plan calls for a tight hazmat containment around the hangar's 1.8 million square feet of surface area. This area would be fully enclosed in a plastic covering to create a negative pressure environment to prevent any toxic compounds from escaping. Workers will begin blasting all of the hangar's surface with a copper slag in an effort to remove toxic lead and PCBs from its framework, possibly going at certain areas with chemical stripping solvents or hand tools.

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Planners for the project say some aspects of the restoration are still being figured out. They expect to phase the project to work on specific areas of the hangar in sections, but they haven't decided yet how to divide up the job. An architecture firm is still determining the right "skin" paneling to cover the vast exterior of the hangar. Those architects are reportedly working with the California Historic Preservation Office to make sure any new hangar covering complies with preservation guidelines.

One way or another, Hangar One will be fully rehabilitated by 2025, the team promised. A crowd of Moffett Field's history fans was absolutely thrilled to hear that news.

"I'm just delighted that we're not taking this down," said Cupertino resident Tom Trankle. "For me, this would be like tearing down the Golden Gate Bridge."

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An epic undertaking to restore Hangar One

Team lays out five-year plan to clean, re-skin iconic structure

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, Sep 10, 2019, 10:23 am

Nearly 200 feet tall and the length of three football fields, Hangar One at Moffett Field is truly a gigantic structure. And true to its size, a plan to restore it faces some big challenges.

At a public meeting last week, representatives gave a walk-through of their plans to purge a variety of toxic contaminants from the hangar and eventually rehabilitate the structure for future use.

This first stage of the proposed cleanup plan is estimated to take at least three years and cost more than $157 million, which is expected to be paid entirely by Google's subsidiary Planetary Ventures. The price is daunting, but it's likely accurate given the huge scale of the cleanup effort, which would require $54 million just for temporary scaffolding, said John-Michael Phelps, Planetary Ventures project manager.

"As everything else is in the Bay Area, it's extremely expensive to do anything," he said. "Those are the most accurate numbers we had to go with. They're not padded."

The restoration project could be record-breaking in other ways. Speakers at the meeting opined that restoring Hangar One may be the largest cleanup effort of its kind ever attempted. The plan calls for a tight hazmat containment around the hangar's 1.8 million square feet of surface area. This area would be fully enclosed in a plastic covering to create a negative pressure environment to prevent any toxic compounds from escaping. Workers will begin blasting all of the hangar's surface with a copper slag in an effort to remove toxic lead and PCBs from its framework, possibly going at certain areas with chemical stripping solvents or hand tools.

Planners for the project say some aspects of the restoration are still being figured out. They expect to phase the project to work on specific areas of the hangar in sections, but they haven't decided yet how to divide up the job. An architecture firm is still determining the right "skin" paneling to cover the vast exterior of the hangar. Those architects are reportedly working with the California Historic Preservation Office to make sure any new hangar covering complies with preservation guidelines.

One way or another, Hangar One will be fully rehabilitated by 2025, the team promised. A crowd of Moffett Field's history fans was absolutely thrilled to hear that news.

"I'm just delighted that we're not taking this down," said Cupertino resident Tom Trankle. "For me, this would be like tearing down the Golden Gate Bridge."

Comments

2 Big Questions
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2019 at 12:50 pm
2 Big Questions, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2019 at 12:50 pm
6 people like this

Will it be refurbished to the original look and will it remain "Brand Free", meaning not having any company name on it?


DoctorData
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 10, 2019 at 2:19 pm
DoctorData, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2019 at 2:19 pm
4 people like this

'"I'm just delighted that we're not taking this down," said Cupertino resident Tom Trankle. "For me, this would be like tearing down the Golden Gate Bridge."'

The Golden Gate has a practical and artistic purpose. Hanger One, on the other hand, is a strict nostalgia play. And I'm curious to know how preservationists will feel once Google imprints its logo on the side. For $175 million, I'd certainly expect to be able to advertise on it.


Ron MV
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Sep 10, 2019 at 2:29 pm
Ron MV, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2019 at 2:29 pm
2 people like this

@DoctorData Not sure why you float that as an issue. Google has never made any intention of painting a giant logo on it, and I assume they know that would meet major resistance. They HAVE proposed being able to USE it in return for restoring it.


PaulC
Cuesta Park
on Sep 10, 2019 at 2:56 pm
PaulC, Cuesta Park
on Sep 10, 2019 at 2:56 pm
6 people like this

I would love to see Hangar One reskinned. However, it strikes me that the "era of the airship" if there is such a thing, was probably shorter than the "era of trying to restore Hangar One." Hangar One open in 1933. The USS Macon crashed in 1935. The Hindenburg crashed in 1937. Since then, there really has not been much need for zeppelin hangars. I remember reading about the toxic materials in Hangar One, then watching them remove the original exterior. It's been a bare frame for years and now it'll be 5 years to restore it? What?


Don't be so trusting
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm
Don't be so trusting, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm
9 people like this

@Ron MV, Define "USE" as you have it above. Perhaps Google defines USE differently?

I'm very pleased Google is helping, that's without a doubt, but I simply cannot trust they will do the right thing just to do the right thing. Therefore I would not be surprised if the new siding had some sort of Google look/feel.
I'm hoping it's restored to its original look, but I have not seen that spelled out specifically. So far the language has been vague which leaves the door open for people to float ideas about possible branding.

Another thing I'm waiting for is for Google to re-visit rebuilding the bridge over Stevens creek for their buses.
I still don' think that issue is dead. Not with the way their new building out there is looking.


jean Ess
another community
on Sep 10, 2019 at 3:12 pm
jean Ess, another community
on Sep 10, 2019 at 3:12 pm
3 people like this

I have looked at this structure all my life and think of it as alight in the bay landscape. It was interesting in the beginning when the zeppelins were around. But now the Goodyear blimp doesn't need it. Why keep it? Just think of all the better uses that could be put there. Housing? Parks? Food production? open space for all. This was a military site and is obsolete. Get rid of it.


David B. Karpf, MD
North Whisman
on Sep 10, 2019 at 5:38 pm
David B. Karpf, MD, North Whisman
on Sep 10, 2019 at 5:38 pm
8 people like this

2 Big Questions and jean Ess,

Google is not "helping" in saving Hanger One, Google is "saving" Hanger One.
1) Saving this historic structure will cost a boatload of money, which Google is paying.
2) If Google didn't pay for this, in all likelihood Hanger One would be demolished

So personally, as a fan of Hanger One who lives very close by, I am thrilled that Google wants to do this, and continue to make use of this historic structure, and would care one whit if they put their name on it.


Wendy S.
another community
on Sep 10, 2019 at 10:12 pm
Wendy S., another community
on Sep 10, 2019 at 10:12 pm
4 people like this

I don't know why people are saying that Hangar 1 is obsolete because it's no longer needed for airships. An indoor space that big has many potentially valuable uses for Google and other research companies and institutions.


That's not Saving
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2019 at 5:48 am
That's not Saving, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2019 at 5:48 am
14 people like this

No, if Google is going to get a "Do what ever you want to it" pass for paying for all the retrofits, that's not Saving, that's INVESTING in business capitol for their own use.
We should have just sold it to them, maybe we did in a way.

We'll soon find out if they were being community minded, or community manipulating.
Glad it's still here, but I respect the old girl more than others. Sad.


MAybe
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 1:37 pm
MAybe, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 1:37 pm
Like this comment

OK, maybe a small Google near the base.


James Thurber
Registered user
Shoreline West
on Sep 12, 2019 at 3:27 pm
James Thurber, Shoreline West
Registered user
on Sep 12, 2019 at 3:27 pm
Like this comment

I just hope Google paints the entire a hanger a delicious pink color - neon pink - brilliant as the day is long in the summertime. So bright it hurts to look at it.

Something you can clearly see from the moon - not just from orbit.


Hmm
Jackson Park
on Sep 12, 2019 at 3:57 pm
Hmm, Jackson Park
on Sep 12, 2019 at 3:57 pm
Like this comment

Will Google let all their employees currently living in RVs park them in Hangar One? If so, I'm all for it.


It Fades
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 5:07 pm
It Fades, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2019 at 5:07 pm
2 people like this

@James Thurber, you forgot to add "...just to stick it to some people who bug me...MMMEH!" LOL
Anyway, bright colors never stand the test of time. They fade out too quickly.

An LED light display however...OooooWEEEE!
I'd be way into that, like on the Bay Bridge only with colors.


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