MOFFETT FIELD (KPIX 5) – A new report released this week shows what Google may do with Hangar One, Silicon Valley’s most recognizable landmarks.
Hangar One was the landmark, and more than that my dad was an aero astro engineer, that’s why he came out here to Moffett Field,” said Barbara Ralston who has fond memories of the structure.
Greg Unangst, chairman of the Moffett Field Restoration Advisory Board, also remembers being amazed at Hangar One when he first moved to Silicon Valley a few decades ago.
”I’m like, God, look at that thing,” Unangst said. “It’s an incredible structure built in the 30’s without computers.”
Today, Hangar One sits on Moffett Field—naked.
Several years ago, crews removed its skin after discovering the structure was polluting the area around it.
”Asbestos and PCBs and they painted it all with lead paint,” Unangst said. “Kind of a brew of pollutants in Hangar One, and a lot of those pollutants are still there.”
The massive hangar was built in 1932 to house a helium naval airship. It’s so large that it could cover about six football fields. But the structure was just too unsustainable, and decades later—after the Navy left — and NASA’s Ames Research Center took over, it sat empty.
”There was a big debate about what to do with Hanger One,” Unangst said.
Fast forward to 2014, and Google signed on to lease a large part of Moffett Field, including Hangar One for 60 years. The company agreed to spend roughly $160 million to clean up and restore its skin.
A new report shows three options for Hangar One, including leaving it alone or recoating and reskinning it to the tune of $115 million or the most expensive option, would be to remove the toxins altogether, restore and seismically retrofit it.
Exactly what Google will do with Hangar One after its restoration is still a mystery.
The clean up could happen as soon as next year, and is expected to be completed by 2023.
Alec Ralston, Barbara’s son, said his memories of Hangar One are connected to his grandfather.
Both he and his mom said it’s an important part of history they want to see remain standing. ”I’d like to see it restored,” Alec said.