Project could bolster Bay Area’s innovation ecosystem
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA — A $2 billion innovation hub is being planned for the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, in an effort to foster the development of cutting-edge technologies.
Officials announced Monday that UC Berkeley and SKS Partners, a San Francisco-based commercial developer, have joined forces to establish the Berkeley Space Center at NASA Research Park.
“California’s innovation and drive are not limited to Earth,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement issued Monday.
Backers of the ambitious project anticipate that the 36-acre facility will develop and create technologies in a wide range of fields. It will have 1.5 million square feet of first-rate office and research space.
“The joint venture is dedicated to identifying, incubating, and launching technological breakthroughs across a diverse set of fields including astronautics, quantum computing, climate studies, and the social sciences,” said UC Berkeley and SKS Partners in a news release on Monday.
“Everyone benefits from this,” said Russell Hancock, president of the San Jose-based think tank Joint Venture Silicon Valley. “It’s great for the communities in the area, it’s great for NASA and it’s certainly great for the university.”
The project will also include housing, open spaces, wet and dry labs, conference rooms, academic facilities, and retail amenities.
“This planned expansion of Berkeley’s physical footprint and academic reach represents a fantastic and unprecedented opportunity for our students, faculty and the public we serve,” Carol Christ, Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, said.
According to Google Maps, the project site, a roughly triangular shape at the intersection of Westcoat and Cody roads, would be located across the street from Hangar One, Moffett Federal Airfield, and the Moffett Field Historical Society Museum.
“For NASA, this partnership has the potential to advance world-class research in aviation and space, thus helping to improve life here on Earth,” said Eugene Tu, center director of the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View.
CBRE, a commercial real estate firm, has been tasked with finding tenants for the innovation hub, which “will play a key role in advancing innovation, offering Silicon Valley’s top companies and world-class educational institutions a hub for discovery and transformation,” according to Ben Knight, executive vice president of CBRE.
NASA, Google, and Microsoft, as well as other top Silicon Valley research and educational institutions, are all within walking distance of the innovation hub.
“A lot of the work that is going on in quantum computing, a lot of the work on autonomous flying and driving vehicles, a lot of the advanced work in aerospace, is happening in Silicon Valley,” said Rob Enderle, an Oregon-based technology analyst.
The proposed development could also increase interest in developing properties near Moffett Federal Airfield and NASA Ames.
“Moffett is really underutilized,” Hancock says. “Google is in the area, but Moffett is largely undeveloped.” It could be used as a dwelling. It could be used for commercial enterprises, incubators, labs, and research facilities. There’s nowhere better to do something like this. For God’s sake, we should be using NASA and Moffett Field in this manner.”
Google opened its massive Bay View campus in 2022 on land leased from NASA. That same year, Google began serious construction on Hangar One, a historic landmark perched at one of the proposed center’s gateways.
“Berkeley Space Center is going to be big for Google and Google will be a big benefit for this space center,” Enderle said in a statement. “Given the proximity, this should be very advantageous to Google.”
Construction is set to start in 2026. CBRE brokers, on the other hand, have already begun negotiations with tenants looking for custom-tailored office or research spaces, according to the real estate firm.
“This is a prime time and a prime location for this public university,” Chancellor Christ said.