Well, that was an anti-climax. After all kinds of speculation about why Google was building floating structures on a set of barges based in San Francisco and Portland, with Google finally revealing in not too much detail that they were to become “interactive spaces where people can learn about new technology,” it turns out that at least one of them is being sold for scrap.
The Portland Press Herald reports that the 250-foot Google barge that has been sitting in Portland Harbour since last October is now being sold and the container building sitting on it will be scrapped …
On Wednesday, a tugboat towed the barge from Rickers Wharf Marine Facility in Portland and deposited it at Turner’s Island Cargo Terminal in South Portland. Roger Hale, owner of the terminal, said the structure had been purchased by an unnamed “international barging company” and was being prepared to leave Portland for an ocean voyage to an undisclosed location.
The containers, though, will be disassembled at Turner’s Island and scrapped, said Lance Hanna, deputy harbor master for Portland Harbor.
Speculation as to the purpose of the mysterious barges had ranged from floating data centers to retail showrooms. The project ran into some issues with various official agencies, with the US Coast Guard demanding design changes and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission stating that the company had not yet obtained permits for construction or permission to dock it in the Bay. The commission insisted that Google move the SF barge to a new location, away from Treasure Island.
There’s no word yet on the fate of the three remaining barges, but it seems unlikely one would be scrapped while the others proceed as planned.