The three executives at Google, one of the world’s largest tech companies, have offered to pay $33 million to restore Hangar One, one of the world’s largest buildings.
But there’s a catch — they want to take two thirds of the eight-acre building to stash their eight private jets.
The historic NASA hangar in California’s Silicon Valley once housed massive inflatable airships. Now it’s falling apart. The skin that covered the massive steel frame was removed because it was contaminated with PCBs, lead and asbestos.
Falling down: Hangar One, which was built in 1933 and spans eight acres, will have its skin removed because it is contaminated with toxic chemicals
Billionaires: Eric Schmidt (left), Larry Page (center) and Sergey Brin (right) have offered to pay $33 million of their Google fortunes to restore Hangar One
NASA and the US Navy, which operate and oversee the hangar, don’t have money to install a new roof on the massive structure, leaving the girders exposed to further decay in the elements.
Still, the government is holding back on accepting the proposal from H211 – the company owned by Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt that operates Google’s fleet of planes.
Mr Page is the CEO of the search giant, Mr Brin is the co-founder and Mr Schmidt is the executive chairman of Google.
Hangar One was built in 1933 to house the
748-foot USS Macon airship. Standing 198 feet high and covering eight
acres, it was the largest building in the world without
interior supports – and remains among the biggest still.
After the USS Macon crashed at sea — and the Navy’s short-lived airship program along with it — Hangar One was used to house planes — it’s big enough for eight football fields.
Lockheed used it briefly in the 1960s for the development of missiles.
History: Hangar One was constructed to house the USS Macon, a 748-foot airship that was only slightly smaller than the Hindenburg. It has been used to house planes, missiles and museums since
Seven others: One of Google’s eight private jets is pictured here. The search engine execs want to stash their fleet at Hangar One
In 2003, the federal government
discovered that the massive shell of the hangar was leeching toxic
chemicals into surface water. It was subsequently closed to the public.
Bob Jacobs, a NASA spokesman, told the
San Jose Mercury News: ‘It would be premature to discuss the merits of
the proposal until we have had time to review the details.
has not yet been completely vetted. We understand the interest and
historic nature of the facility and we have to weigh that against the
reality of constrained resources and use.’
Meanwhile, H211 and Hangar One preservation activists point out that the Navy already has $12 million worth of scaffolding around the historic building to remove its contaminated skin. If that is taken down before the new roof is restored, the cost of the project will increase by as much as $2 million.
Massive: Hangar One, pictured here with the USS Macon inside, is so large it collects its own fog and can fit eight football fields
Expansive: These World War I-era biplanes look like toys as they line the great expanse of Hangar One
Once the skin is removed, rain is likely to leech chemicals from the ground inside the hangar if it remains exposed too long, they added.
‘A decision should have been made by now. It’s quarter to midnight as far as I can see,’ Ken Ambrose, the chief operating officer of H211, said at a news conference.
Even if the company uses a full two-thirds of the building for its jets, Mr Ambrose said, there is still plenty of room left for NASA.
‘You could put a Walmart in there,’ he said.
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So it was closed to the public because it was leeching chemicals into the water, Im guessing it is still doing that then being that the outer shell has not yet been removed! So to me it sounds like they have no other option than to accept the guys from Googles offer and get on with sorting out the building which in my mind needs to be preserved as it is historic and the longer it stays as it is the more chemicals leech into the ground!
Nick Clegg could use it to store his love for the Europe
World War One era biplanes? Given that they are NOT and given that the hanger was built in 1933 and they are not likely to be is a bit of a clue….still other than that fairly accurate reporting almost.
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