Moving yet another step closer to making a RoboCop-style technopolis an impending reality, Google is getting its very own airport. Estimated at a value of $82 million, the 29-acre facility at Mineta San Jose International will feature 270,000 feet of hangar space. When it breaks ground in January, it will prepare to effectively serve as Google's own launch pad, privately shuttling Silicon Valley elite around the world with seamless ease. Though other corporate clients inhabit the public Mineta San Jose airport (such as Hewlett-Packard's hangars) Google's new complex will reign supreme. According to Fast Company, it will be "one of the largest single-client corporate air facilities in the world."
Google will be able to section off a public space for its private business because — why else? — the airport stands to profit substantially from it. Mineta San Jose will tally about $3 million per year by leasing space to Signature and Blue City, the aviation companies handling private flights for the Silicon Valley jet set. Given that the lease lasts 50 years, that's $150 million in San Jose's pocket.
News of the glossy digerati airport arrives just as the entire San Fran/Mountain View tech community is coming under intense media scrutiny. As the dividing line between monied Silicon moguls and, well, everyone else in the vicinity grows ever more punitive to the working poor, tempers are flaring. Thanks to skyrocketing rents, immigrants and lower-income families are getting displaced from traditionally accessible and diverse communities, such as San Francisco's Mission District. A recent San Francisco Chronicle editorial spearheaded the mounting tensions, which have resulted in heated street protests. The takeaway message remains that Silicon Valley has an image problem on its hands. Something tells us a private airport isn't going to make its critics feel any less alienated. (Fast Company)