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MOFFETT FIELD, CA-A three-million-square-foot mixed-use community on 77 acres within the NASA Research Park here will serve as a test-bed for advances in green technologies. The project is a joint venture of the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, which have formed a non-profit entity (University Associates-Silicon Valley LLC) for the endeavor. The two schools this week announced the master developers for the project, San Francisco-based TMG Partners and the Related Cos. of New York City.

TMG/Related and the two schools will now enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement that specifies the business terms of their relationship through pre-development activities. The work will include master planning and completing site entitlements in conformance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

Related Cos. president William Witte says the project “has the potential to become a model for sustainable development.” NASA Ames Research Center Director S. Pete Worden says the development will assist NASA with R&D and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education “and help us bring forth new ideas in both education and technology to address the great challenges facing our nation.”

The proposed 2000-household development will feature state-of-the-art housing, research and teaching laboratories, classrooms, and work environments built on new ground-up infrastructure to form an integrated, sustainable community. It is anticipated that over 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students ultimately will be accommodated in the combined educational programs at the site.

“It will be engineered for minimum carbon footprint by incorporating leading-edge environmental sustainability practices/technologies in energy generation, conservation, potable water and waste management,” according to an overview of the project. “Automated buses and other innovative people movers will provide an alternative transportation to complement a pedestrian-friendly environment. This new community also will serve as a model site to deploy and validate new renewable energy and resource conservation systems constantly evolving with the current state-of-the-art. A Visitors Center will provide information about the technologies employed at the site as well as providing information and programs on how green technologies can be implemented in homes, businesses, government agencies, etc.”

The long-term lease with the two schools was signed in December, six months after Google agreed to lease 42.2 acres within the park from NASA for development of a 1.2-million-square-foot office/R&D campus that also will include company housing. Google agreed to an initial 40-year lease that includes periodic escalations and adjustments of rent and multiple 10-year extension options that could extend the lease by an additional 50 years. Google’s initial base rent will be $3.66 million per year. Depending on the escalations, which are based on inflation, the total lease value for the initial 40-year term is somewhere between $150 million and $200 million.

Per the agreement, construction will proceed in three phases, with the first phase slated to begin by the end of September 2013, the second phase by 2018 and the third by 2022. Google has said the majority of the development will consist of office and R&D space but also will include company housing and other amenities such as dining, sports, fitness, child care, conference and parking, as well as recreation and park facilities. NASA says it will retain control over the project during its construction phase, including approving the design, issuing building permits, conducting inspections and monitoring construction.

NASA Research Park, the former Moffett Naval Air Field, is entitled for 4 million sf of development and currently houses already houses 30 private companies, six non-profits and five academic partners, including Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California at Santa Cruz. The universities collaborate with NASA on a broad spectrum of fields including biotechnology, environmental technology, nanotechnology, communications and homeland security. The existing buildings at NASA Research Park that meet the necessary safety and code standards are fully leased.

NASA Ames Research Center was founded Dec. 20, 1939 as an aircraft research laboratory; it became part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958. Ames, one of 10 NASA field installations, plays a role in virtually all NASA missions. It is home to some $3 billion in capital equipment, 4,000 research personnel and has a $775 million annual budget.

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