It is said that most acts of kindness are done with ulterior motives in mind. The offer that Google’s top executives – CEO Larry Page, co-founder Sergey Brin, and Chairman Eric Schmidt – made to NASA to save the iconic landmark may qualify. NASA needs $33 million to revamp the hangar. The Google execs, through a separate company they own called H211 which operates the 8 private jets owned by the Google trio, would like a new place to park their jets.
H211 would like around 2/3rds of the floor space at Hangar One for their jets. Their proposal would keep NASA as the owner and would allow them to lease the rest of the floor space as well as the upper levels of the building. Currently, the skin of the hangar is being removed due to contamination, making time an essential element for the deal to go through. NASA has not accepted nor declined the offer which was made in September.
“It has not yet been completely vetted,” said NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs. “We understand the interest and historic nature of the facility and we have to weigh that against the reality of constrained resources and use. We are giving all options thoughtful consideration as we prepare our funding proposal for the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.”
Ken Ambrose, Director of Operations for H211, is eager for a response.
“A decision should have been made by now,” Ambrose said. “It’s quarter to midnight as far as I can see.”
After the government cut the $32 million budget to replace the contaminated shell, it became necessary to either find a benefactor or demolish the structure altogether. If a new shell is not placed on the hangar immediately after the current siding is removed, it’s possible that the unprotected frame and foundation could become nonviable to maintain the structure. There is also a cost-factor involved; if the current $12 million scaffolding structure being used to unskin the building can be used immediately afterwards, it would save $1-$2 million.
“We don’t want to spend the next six months working hard to come up with a definitive plan if in fact that dog won’t hunt,” Ambrose said. “Months have gone by, and I feel a real sense of urgency with the (hangar’s) bones being exposed.”