Google's mystery barge ends up on the scrapheap

Google's mystery barge is being dismantled and service as a potential invite-only showroom is no longer on the cards, according to reports.

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 10.17.13
Credit: Josh Miller/CNET

Google's mystery barge, intended to act as an invite-only showroom, is dashing Portland's claim to fame by being dismantled.

According to the Portland Press Herald, after being towed into Portland Harbor last October, the to-be showroom has now journeyed to Turner's Island Cargo Terminal in South Portland, where parts will be dismantled.

The barge, which contains over 60 shipping containers arranged to create a four-storey building, was worth $4 million when purchased new. Cianbro was scheduled to work on the interior of the structure on top, and although the engineering firm never disclosed the 250-foot barge's owner, Google eventually admitted  that the barge was being explored to serve as "an interactive space where people can learn about new technology" after a similar barge was spotted in San Francisco last year. 

However, owner of the Turner's Island Cargo Terminal, Roger Hale, said the floating building has now been purchased by an anonymous "international barging company" and is currently being prepared to float on to a new, undisclosed location. The containers will be scrapped, but the barge will likely find work as something other than Google's mystery showroom.

It remains unclear why the project was scrapped, according to the publication, although money is likely to be the root cause of the sale. Not only did the barge cost millions, but all the time spent in port has been expensive -- and the barge has never fulfilled any purpose for the tech giant.

Sadly for Portland, the demise of the Google barge will also be a blow to future popularity and potential tourist revenues, but the city has not completely lost out -- as the area has collected $400,000 in property taxes on the barge while it remained in harbor.