Google leaders have offered $33 million to restore historic Hangar One. The funds are being offered through an LLC with no affiliation with Google, but there's one condition: that LLC would get rights to two-thirds of the hangar's floor space.
Google's $33 Million Offer
The funds are being offered by Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt through the company H211 LLC. While key Googlers have controlling interests in the company, "Google has no official relation" with H211, reports Tech Crunch.
The Googlers involved aren't simply being kind-hearted, however. Their offer comes with the stipulation that H211 be granted use of two-thirds of the building's floor space for the continued use of "eight private jets," according to Ken Ambrose – Director of H211.
That's still not a bad deal for Hangar One, however. Google has been paying $1.3 million a year to lease the same space that they would be getting rights to – and paying the $33 million lump sum will both ensure the restoration of the historic building and save money on the restoration by allowing it to all be done at once. It's also expected that Google will continue to allow NASA to use the private jets for scientific tests
Saving Hangar One
Due to toxic paneling and natural deterioration, Hangar One is in need of serious attention – and the offer for private sponsorship goes a long way toward saving this at-risk historic building. While advocates for the restoration of the building have been petitioning the federal government for funding, all efforts to obtain said funding have been tabled or rejected.
Responsibility for the restoration has been handed off to NASA, who currently holds operations in the building; prior to NASA's presence, the building was a U.S. Naval site and historic monument. At 198 feet tall, the building is among the largest landmarks in the country.
Some individuals have responded to the H211 offer with conflicted emotions. In addition to feeling that the private-public partnership is working as a band-aid to poor federal assistance, concerns have been raised over the government showing support of Google leaders who have actively supported the Obama administration. Additionally, while some are concerned with the limited space left in Hangar One, others would prefer to have the space repurposed so the federal government can profit in rather than investing in the building.
Primarily, though, the response has been positive. While NASA has yet to give a response, and several proponents of the restoration are concerned by the slow reaction time, the general reaction was made clear by a public letter: "A public-private partnership could avoid both significant taxpayer costs and the irreversible demolition of this historic landmark." That letter was signed by more than 20 members of the House of Representatives.
An additional letter from the RAB was written to NASA to encourage acceptance. "We believe that our neighbors, residents of the South Bay Area from all political perspectives, will not hesitate to support the H211 offer enthusiastically," it read.