After years of using Moffett Field as the home and launch pad for the private jets of Google’s founders, the company has agreed to a deal in which it will lease the airfield from NASA for the next 60 years. As part of the lease, Google will take over operations of the airfield while the U.S. government retains ownership of the land.
In a press release, NASA announced that Planetary Ventures LLC, a shell organization operated by Google for real estate deals, will contribute $1.16 billion over the course of the lease, while reducing the government agency’s maintenance and operation costs by $6.3 million annually.
The best part of the press release is this quote from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden: “As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth,” he says.
NASA and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will continue to own the 1,000 acres of land in Mountain View, Calif., which includes Hangars One, Two, and Three, an airfield flight operations building, two runways, and a private golf course. But for all intents and purposes, they will be handing over operations to Google through Planetary Ventures.
The deal was finalized after Google won the right to negotiate the lease earlier in the spring. Under its initial proposal, Google agreed to “rehabilitate and maintain the historic integrity of Hangar One and the Shenandoah Plaza Historic District.”
It will be doing that and more. According to the press release, Planetary Ventures will invest more than $200 million into the property over and above the cost of the lease.
In addition to refurbishing Hangar One, the company will also be rehabbing Hangars Two and Three, operating the airfield “in accordance with the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for public and private use,” and creating an educational facility open to the public to teach them about the site and local tech advancements in Silicon Valley.
The firm will also assume operations of the site “following the finalization of a joint plan with NASA, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and California Regional Water Quality Control Board.”
According to the press release, after renovating Moffett Airfield Google will use the site as the home for its own advanced research facilities.
Once renovations are complete, Hangar One will again be home to high-tech innovation as Planetary Ventures begins using the historic facility for research, development, assembly and testing in the areas of space exploration, aviation, rover/robotics and other emerging technologies. Hangars Two and Three will be used for similar purposes.
Perhaps that means it’ll be the new home of Google X?