Rising Bay Area rent forces move of USGS office

A federal office of about 450 people is in the process of moving from its Menlo Park office where it has been since 1954, a spokesman for the agency said.

The United States Geological Survey has an agreement in the works with NASA at Moffett Field near Mountain View and could start moving there in about a year. The move could take up to five years to complete.

Spokesman Colin Williams said:

“We are trying to make it happen.┬áIt’s certainly our Plan A.”

Williams cited rising rents and a desire to collaborate more with scientists at NASA as the reasons for the move:

“It’s really a two-fold issue.”

The USGS rents space through the General Services Agency, another federal agency, which must offer space at market rates. The USGS’s current rental agreement has come to an end and rent will go up as it has everywhere in the Bay Area, Williams said.

NASA owns the property at Moffett Field and will charge the USGS only for the cost of operating and maintaining the property it occupies. NASA is not required to charge the USGS market rates, Williams said.

The USGS will be vacating a few hundred thousand square feet in Menlo Park.

Williams cited several ways USGS scientists might collaborate with scientists at NASA. As USGS scientists monitor volcanoes, they could benefit from NASA-like robots, which could see inside a volcano when it’s too dangerous for humans.

Also, seismologists may be able use NASA’s supercomputing technology at the Ames Research Center to model earthquake activity.