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Google Told to Move Mystery Project

Thursday, February 6, 2014

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The next big Google search is likely to be for a new location for the tech giant's floating four-story building in San Francisco Bay.

The project has hit a major regulatory snafu and must find a new location, authorities say.

It turns out that Google’s mystery barge, which incited weeks of speculation last fall, lacks the proper permits to remain on the Treasure Island site, a Bay official says.

By and Large LLC
By and Large LLC

Google's planned "interactive space" on the Bay has run into permit problems.

In October, news broke of Google building a “mysterious” structure from shipping containers in the Bay, creating a stir about its purpose. 

In November, Google offered a terse explanation: “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.”

However, word of the Bay project also fueled concerns from state officials, who launched an enforcement investigation.

‘It Needs to Move’

The finding was unequivocal.

"It needs to move," Larry Goldzband, the executive director of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, told the Associated Press.

Investigators found that neither the city nor the Treasure Island Development Authority had applied for the required permits for work to be done at the Bay site, he added. The commission must issue a permit for any permanent structure on the Bay.

Treasure Island
Treasure Island Development Authority

The director of the Treasure Island Development Authority said the agency is trying to correct the application issue.

The authorities could face fines and enforcement proceedings if Google doesn’t move the project to a fully permitted construction area in the San Francisco Bay, reports said.

Construction on the project has been put on hold until the end of winter, Goldzband said. Moving the barge to a lawful permitted area before taking up the project again is key, he said.

The state of California discourages permanent floating structures on the Bay, unless they have a clear maritime purpose.

Reviews Underway

Google Inc. told reporters that it was reviewing a letter from Goldzband.

Meanwhile, the director of the Treasure Island Development Authority said the agency was trying to correct the application issue.

“We did not intend to violate or circumvent the process,” Mirian Saez told the Associated Press.

This might not be the last of the permit problems for Google, reports said. Should the project be completed, it will need more permits to be moored or docked.

   

Tagged categories: Building design; Building operations; Enforcement; Regulations; Shipyards

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