With a new Cold War is ramping up, and as Americans gathered across the country to honor our veterans, the U.S. government’s NASA Ames Research Center announced that is is leasing the 1,000 acre Moffett Airfield in Silicon Valley to Google for the next for the next 60 years.
The former naval air station is located near the south end of San Francisco Bay. Although it has been under the management by NASA since 1994, active military activities at the site include the 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard and the headquarters for the US Army Reserve’s 7th Psychological Operations Group.
NASA leased 42 acres around the field to Google in 2008 and in 2013 Google began building a 1.1-million-square-foot office complex consisting of nine buildings overlooking San Francisco Bay, dubbed “Bay View.” The buildings are to be the new headquarters for Google and will be part of the nearby Googleplex. At current real estate values of about $5 million an acre, the value of the 1,000 acre site is about $5 billion.
NASA’s press release states that Goggle’s real estate arm, called Planetary Ventures LLC, will contribute $1.16 billion to improve the usability of the facility and reduce the federal government’s agency’s operations and maintenance cost by $318 million.
In what TechCrunch humorously called “The best part of the press release”, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden stated: “As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth.”
Google has been playing in a slew of fascinating high-tech endeavors outside of the Internet, including designing driverless cars, building robots that do gymnastics and secretly building a fleet of heat-sink barges.
Yet announcing the acquisition of their own military airfield on Veterans Day seems a little over the top, even for Google.