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San Jose Official Backs Plan For New $82M Google Airport

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) - San Jose should accept an offer by a major airport operator to build an $82 million private airport for executives of Google Inc. at Mineta San Jose International Airport, a city official said.

Signature Aviation, a British firm, wants to construct an executive terminal, hangars and ramp space "accommodating the largest business jets" for Mountain View-based Google at the San Jose airport, William Sherry, the city's director of aviation, wrote in a memo.

A five-member evaluation panel of San Jose airport and other officials has chosen Signature's plan, after giving it a rating of 991 out of a possible 1,000 points, over two other proposals deemed not acceptable, Sherry wrote in the memo, which recommended that the city select the offer.

Under its proposed 50-year lease with San Jose, Signature would build the airport as a partner with Blue City Holdings San Jose LLC, a company that represents the private jets owned by Google executives, according to Sherry.

"Signature was found to be a financially stable company with strong financial indicators and will likely be a significant economic asset for the city of San Jose," Sherry wrote.

"The Signature proposal offers a strong likelihood of creating construction and permanent jobs, revenues for the airport and the (city's) General Fund, and providing high quality corporate aviation services to the general aviation customer," he wrote.

San Jose airport officials intend to consult with Signature further about the proposed pact, discuss it with the city's Community and Economic Development Committee and Airport Commission next month and prepare a plan for the City Council in the spring, Sherry wrote.

Signature's proposed development on the west side of the San Jose airport would bring annual revenues of $2.6 million in rent, $400,000 in fuel flow fees and $70,000 to $300,000 a year in new taxes to the city, according to Sherry.

He wrote that the Signature plan would generate about 376 direct and indirect jobs, plus 150 to 200 others during construction, and would qualify for a gold LEED certification for green building standards, Sherry said.

The proposed private airport would use 29 acres of the 44 acres on Mineta San Jose International Airport's western side that the city last year announced it wanted to lease for aviation-related development and put out a request for proposals.

The firm would develop a 17,000-square-foot terminal, a 33,000-square-foot building for offices and retail shops, a 66,000-square-foot hangar, 18.5 acres for aircraft parking and a 300-space car parking lot.

Sherry said that Signature is the world's biggest operator of fixed base airports and has private air facilities in 113 locations, including San Francisco, Chicago O'Hare and Boston Logan international airports.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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