It's official: Google Barge moving to Stockton

The floating showroom is expected to set sail for its new home as early as next week. Now, maybe Google will finally tell us what's behind all the black netting and scaffolding.

Google Barge is said to be moving to Stockton, Calif., as early as next week, weather permitting. Josh Miller/CNET

The guessing game about Google Barge's future destination after leaving its current construction site on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay is over.

CNET has confirmed that Google Barge will be heading to Stockton, Calif. (a move we first reported was imminent ).

Mirian Saez, head of Island operations for the Treasure Island Development Authority -- which manages leases on Treasure Island -- confirmed that the Google Barge may take to the water for its new home as early as next week, weather permitting. The large project, expected to be a floating showroom for Google X products and concepts like Glass and driverless cars, has been sitting idle and unfinished, covered in scaffolding, since late October.

In an e-mail to CNET, Saez said she'd been told by Bay Ship & Yacht, which leases the pier -- and is subleasing it to Google -- that the barge project is about to be on the move, heading for Stockton. Bay Ship & Yacht could not immediately be reached for comment

Richard Aschieris, the port director at the Port of Stockton told CNET Wednesday that he had no knowledge of any such move, and had not been in contact with Google. On Thursday, he told the San Francisco Chronicle that Google did not have required permits to set up shop along the port's 2 miles of dock space. "There would have to be an agreement negotiated in advance of any vessel arriving at the Port of Stockton and that hasn't happened," Aschieris told the Chronicle. "We have many potential users or representatives of users contacting us all the time. It's relatively easy to collect information on our facilities, but they will still have to eventually have to contact us and get an agreement in advance of arrival."

Google did not immediately respond to a CNET request for comment.

For Google, the biggest advantage of moving to Stockton is that it is outside the jurisdiction (PDF) of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, meaning Google could avoid having to adhere to that state agency's permitting conditions.

Earlier this month, BCDC told Google that it either had to get a permit to finish construction of the barge project on Treasure Island, move it somewhere else, or start paying fines of up to $30,000. The agency gave Google a 35-day grace period to take action.

Update (Thursday, 9:58 p.m. PT): This story now includes additional comment from the director of the Port of Stockton.

 

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