Google To Restore Moffett Field’s Hangar One

Covering an impressive 8 acres on Mountain View’s Moffett Field, Hangar One holds the record as one the biggest freestanding buildings in the world. A Silicon Valley landmark, it was constructed in the 1931 to house the USS Macon, a helium-filled ‘flying aircraft carrier’. The colossal interior of the hangar has it’s own micro-atmosphere, with fog at times materializing near the ceiling.

All that remains today of Hangar One is its steel girder skeleton. The outer ‘skin’ of the hangar was removed years ago when it was discovered that toxic chemicals were emanating from its roof.  

After years of sitting idle and unoccupied, the endangered Hangar One now has the promise of a new purpose. Google, one of Mountain View’s top high-tech companies, recently announced it’s arrangement to spend upwards of $200 million to restore the building plus two other hangars. This rehabilitation includes ‘reskinning’ the hangar, utilizing the airfield’s facilities for scientific purposes and creating of a community-oriented educational center that will ‘explore the site’s legacy and the role of technology in the history of Silicon Valley’.

Planetary Ventures, a Google subsidiary, has inked a deal with NASA to rent 1,000 acres of Moffett Field for 60 years. It’s plans for Moffett include conduct cutting-edge research in space exploration, robotics, aviation as well as other evolving technologies. As a result of the lease, NASA will save $6.3 million annually on maintenance and operational costs. The Ames Research Center will continue its operations on the property while the California National Guard will also remain on-site.

This deal isn’t the first time Google and Moffett Field have crossed paths. The company’s founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, have a fleet of jets housed on the airfield and Google is also using the field to analyze innovative versions of its self-driving vehicles.  In addition, Google has a separate long-term lease that would enable them to build a 42-acre campus on the site and they hope to build classrooms, labs and housing on another piece of the property currently rented by an alliance of local colleges.

The official kick-off of this planned revitalization is still undetermined but Google VP, David Radcliffe, stated that the company is looking forward to “rolling up our sleeves to restore the remarkable landmark Hangar One.”