The unskinned Hangar One at Moffett Field
In the heart of Mountain View, Calif., off the 101 freeway, is a massive, landmark blimp hangar, called Hangar One at Moffett Field.
And now thanks to a Google lease that's still in negotiation, the 8-acre hangar and surrounding airfield will get some much-needed attention.
On Monday, Google subsidiary Planetary Ventures LLC was chosen to restore Hangar One at Moffett Field and gain control of the airfield's two runways, according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News.
According to the Mercury News:
Google's plans for the Moffett airfield are unclear, although the agreement could allow limited commercial development, or possibly a museum or education center at the hangar site. The company declined to comment, saying only that it wants to "preserve the heritage of Moffett Federal Airfield."
The U.S.S. Macon in its glory days, the 1930s.
The announcement could mark the end of a battle to preserve the landmark that once housed the U.S.S. Macon, a pre-World War II Zeppelin-style aircraft carrier. In 1994, it was turned over to NASA's Ames Research Center, but was soon closed in 1997, because toxic chemicals were found to be leaking from its skin. The skin was removed a few years ago. As part of the contract, Google will reskin the structure, as well as take care of other buildings on the property and the airfield.
"[The agreement] will allow NASA to focus its resources on core missions, while protecting the federal need to use Moffett Field as a continued, limited-use airfield," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a statement.
In 2012, Google execs Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt proposed paying $33 million to restore Hangar One, in exchange for using it to house eight of the company's private jets. U.S. officials decided to go with private bids, instead. Renovation costs are now upwards of $40 million.
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