Excess Or Economic Development: Google’s New $82 Million Private Airport Terminal

Air GoogleIs it a symbol of the excesses of Silicon Valley wealth or a welcome source of new jobs and economic development? I suppose it depends on your perspective.

However, the city of San Jose and its airport clearly see it as a welcome development and are prepared to approve a proposed $82 million, 29-acre private airport terminal for Google executives and their jets at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

The terminal would be operated by Signature Flight Support, which provides corporate aviation services, and be constructed in partnership with Blue City Holdings, a company formed by Google’s founders and Eric Schmidt to manage their growing fleet of private jets. That fleet now includes eight planes – one of which is a fighter jet.

The terminal, however, would not be exclusively used by Google according to public documents.

Google terminal rendering 2

The Signature/Blue City Holdings plan was one of several submitted to San Jose in response to a request by the city for proposals. Last year, San Jose announced it wanted to lease up to 44 acres of undeveloped land at the airport.

The Signature proposal beat out two others under consideration. According to the press release from the city:

Proposals for development of Silicon Valley Airport’s West Side were reviewed by an evaluation panel, including: staff of SJC and the City of San José; a representative with real estate expertise from a similar-size commercial service airport, with significant corporate and general aviation activity, in California; and a former FBO executive.  Signature’s proposal scored a total of 991 out of a possible 1,000 points, and the panel found the proposal to be both thorough and of very high quality, offering excellent opportunities for corporate aviation services to SJC’s general aviation customers.  

The city anticipates that the project would generate, directly and indirectly, more than 500 local jobs as well as millions of dollars in annual rent, taxes and fees. The “Google terminal” would include roughly 17,000 feet of terminal space and additional square footage for offices, restaurants, retail and a 66,000 square-foot hangar.

Signature/Blue City Holdings would gain a 50-year lease as part of the deal, which still must be approved by the San Jose City Council. However it’s unlikely the deal will not happen given the positive findings and recommendations of the Airport Competitiveness Committee.

Google’s plane fleet is currently housed at NASA’s Moffett Field in Mountain View.

Google Terminal rendering 3

Architectural renderings courtesy of Gensler/Signature and San Jose. 

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Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google | Google: Business Issues | Google: International | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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