Perhaps as a result of the Snowden revelations of May 2013, the barges weren’t terrifically well received and often though of like the lair of a Bond villain or something even more sinister. Floating data centers and spy vessels or a platform for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)( NASDAQ:GOOG) to work on projects far too secretive for their corporate headquarters or other offices? Questions abounded given Google’s reluctance to share with the public the reason for the barges’ unexpected arrivals.
Google Barge: What is/was it?
Finally, the company relented: “Google Barge … A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above,” a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch back in 2013. “Although it’s still early days and things may change, we’re exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology.”
When the barge in Portland, Maine first arrived it was carrying 63 shipping containers to be used to create a four-story building with the interior to be designed by a company called Cianbro Corp., the work was never done, nor was it towed to New York as planned.
Instead that great mystery was moved from Portland to Turner’s Island Cargo Terminal in South Portland, where the structure made of shipping containers will be dismantled and sold as scrap following its construction in New London, Connecticut.
On Wednesday, a tugboat moved the barge to Turner’s Island according to terminal owner Roger Hale and the scrapping of the containers was confirmed by Lance Hanna, deputy harbor master for Portland Harbor.
What a shame
It’s unclear why Google has scrapped the project but Jessica Grondin, spokeswoman for the city of Portland, called it a “bummer,” before adding, “I was hoping for something to come from this. Everybody was waiting to see what was actually going on.”
In spite of this, Portland did collect around $400,000 from Google in property taxes while it was creating this mystery while linking the city to San Francisco on at least one level.
The 250-foot barge, registration number “BAL 0011,” has some real value. It would cost $4 million new, according to C&C Marine in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, which built both barges in 2011.
Chad Walton, owner of SnapSpace Solutions Inc. in Brewer, Maine, which converts shipping containers into modular buildings, was amazed it would be scrapped saying, “It must have cost a fortune to put together a thing like that.”
It’s rare that anything that Google does “comes in like a lion, and leaves like a lamb” but it seems to be the case this time.