Washington: In a bid to reduce costs and shed surplus property, the US space agency has signed a 60-year lease with Planetary Ventures LLC - a shell organisation operated by Google for real estate deals - to manage Moffett Federal Airfield (MFA) in California and restore its historic Hangar One.
Google will initially invest more than $200 million into the site, NASA said in a statement.
It is estimated that the lease will save the US space agency approximately $6.3 million annually in maintenance and operation costs and provide $1.16 billion in rent.
MFA, currently maintained by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, includes approximately 1,000 acres of land located on South San Francisco Bay.
The land includes Hangars One, Two and Three, an airfield flight operations building, two runways and a private golf course.
"As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
“We want to invest taxpayer resources in scientific discovery, technology development and space exploration - not in maintaining infrastructure we no longer need. Moffett Field plays an important role in the Bay Area and is poised to continue to do so through this lease arrangement,” Bolden continued.
After a fair and open competition, the US General Services Administration (GSA) and NASA selected Planetary Ventures, LLC as the preferred lessee in February 2014 and began lease negotiations.
“Hangar One is an important landmark in Silicon Valley. GSA was proud to support NASA in delivering the best value to taxpayers while restoring this historic facility and enhancing the surrounding community,” added GSA administrator Dan Tangherlini.
“We look forward to rolling up our sleeves to restore the remarkable landmark Hangar One, which for years has been considered one of the most endangered historic sites in the United States,” noted David Radcliffe, vice president of real estate and workplace services at Google Inc.
The negotiated lease will put Hangar One to new use and eliminate NASA's management costs of the airfield, with the federal government retaining title to the property, the statement added.