Posts Tagged ‘general services administration’

Well That’s It: The Bay Area’s Formerly-Secret U.S. Navy “Sea Shadow” Stealth Ship Auctioned for Scrap Today

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Just like it was on eBay.

But back in the day, this ship was all that.


The auction ends on Friday May 4, 2012. The buyer will be required to cut up this stealth ship for scrap. Current bid is $300k.

Oh well.

This boat was built here in the Bay Area and now it’s about to die here.

All the deets, below.

Remember  back when Bay Areans could espy the straight-outta-Redwood-City $200-million Sea Shadow stealth ship bobbing about in San Francisco Bay? Check this video from down Fun Diego way over at Telstar Logistics to see this baby in action.

Say it aloud: Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship, Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship, Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship! This project was so secret that it didn’t make the Bay Area newspapers up until 1999, when this boat was identified as an airplane three times by the San Francisco Examiner.*

But lately, the ex Sea Shadow just sits around in the mothballed Ghost Fleet of the East Bay over in Benicia. Check out these great photos from Amy Heiden. Pretty boss, huh?

Now the first time the Navy tried to get rid of this historic boat, in 2006, they had all sorts of rules. Then they tried again in 2009 with more flexible rules. But the problem is that you can’t just take the Shadow, you also have to take the Hughes Mining Barge (HMB-1), a floating drydock boat that was developed as part of Project Jennifer. (That was the semi-successful, top-secret effort mounted by the Central Intelligence Agency to salvage the remains of the Soviet submarine K-129 from the ocean floor.)

Here’s a shot of  them together, ignore the two conventional warships in the background:

But wait, there’s more. Here’s how the Sea Shadow is laid out on the inside:

The bridge of Grant Imahara’s future evil lair. (Boy, talk about a glass cockpit, huh?)

And here’s how she looks from the outside:

You want. However, nobody set up a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and take these things off of the Navy’s hands. So now an important piece of Bay Area military history (and film history what with it inspiring the bad guys’ floating lair in Tomorrow Never Dies) is a gonna get scrapped.

Here’s what came next, after the Shadow got mothballed – it’s the all-aluminum Sea Fighter, as seen back in 2006:

via Telstar Logistics

The point being is that the aging Sea Shadow is the ur-ship, the JetFire of the stealth boat world. Why didn’t anybody save her?

Check out the owner’s manuals – pretty soon, that will be all that’s left…

Ever more deets, after the jump.

*From 1999: “The combined Navy-Marine exercise included overflights of the Bay Area by the Sea Shadow, the Navy equivalent of the stealth bomber.” No, this thing can’t fly, it just floats. Veteran SF Chronicle writer Henry K. Lee got that right but others did not. Nevertheless,, San Francisco’s online newspaper, remains an invaluable resource.


OMG, Signs of a Renaissance at Our “Second Renaissance Revival” Federal Building at 50 Fulton – Hurray!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

OMG, it’s “Loin Stimulus,” finally.

These days, there are signs of life at the old Bakewell & Brown Federal Building at 50 Fulton. (Or “50 United Nations Plaza.” Why put the name of that failure all over the place? Yish. The address is 50 Fulton, IRL, right?)

See the workers up there? 

Click to expand

It’s what the Feds call “Recovery in Progress – Working for you. Working for San Francisco.” Gee, thanks, Feds!*

Groove on the architecture.

Looks nice from the inside:

Now, don’t get me started on Lawrence Halprin‘s failed United Nations Plaza, the Mistake by the Lake built atop Yerba Buena Cemetery:

“Halprin was the creative force behind the interactive, ‘playable’ civic fountains most common in the 1970s, an amenity which continues to greatly contribute to the pedestrian social experience in Portland Oregon, where “Ira’s Fountain” is loved and well-used, and which has been a chronic failure at the transient-ridden United Nations Plaza in San Francisco.”

And UN Plaza made the Hall of Shame. Oh well.

All the deets about 50 Fulton:

Significant events

1927: Congress approves $2.5 million for new San Francisco Federal Building
1930: City of San Francisco donates site for building
1934-1936: Building constructed
1975: United Nations Plaza construction commences
1987: San Francisco Civic Center designated a National Historic Landmark
2007: Building vacated
[edit]Building facts

Location: 50 United Nations Plaza
Architect: Arthur Brown, Jr.
Construction Dates: 1934-1936
Architectural Style: Second Renaissance Revival
Landmark Status: Designated a National Historic Landmark as a Contributing Building to the San Francisco Civic Center
Primary Material: Granite
Prominent Features:
Classical Facade with Upper-story Colonnade
Ornate Entrance Vestibule, Lobby, and Elevator Lobby
Naval Commandant’s Office

*Thanks for finally doing something with your aging hulk of a brokedown palace after all these years.

This Morning’s Auction at the Presidio Should Prove to be Entertaining

Friday, August 28th, 2009

What’s that? You missed the previews on Tuesday and Wednesday? Well then you missed this:

Auction!!_114 copy

Click to expand

To answer your questions:

No, that’s not Nuetella in the cabinets,

Yes, that is the Hammond C3 organ; and

I have no idea.

What are you waiting for? Put your Rice Krispies down and get on up to the Presidio, why not?

The first hammer drops at 9:00 AM.

Auction at the Presidio this Friday Friday Friday! Clawfoot Bathtubs, Anyone?

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

You gotta get over to the Presidio to check out all the stuff that’s getting auctioned off this Friday, August 28th, 2009, at 9:00 AM. But before you do that, make sure to drop by Tuesday and Wednesday to get in a nice long sneak peek.

(Just make sure to leave your commercial mapping vehicle at home (looking at you, Google) and you’ll be treated like royalty.)

Look at this! You’ll be just like Morrissey in his tub, clacking away at the typewriter.


Or, kick it new school in a huge hydrotherapy tub:


Looks like IKEA, but it’s built to last, baby:


Show your subs that you care with this stainless steel table, am I right?


And, straight out of Elkhart, Indiana, an official United States Park Service amplifier and pre-amplifier from Crown International, a $400 value (a third of a century ago, anyway). 


See you there!

Auction at the Presidio

Preview August 25 and 26. Live Auction August 28.

View the Gallery of Auction Items

For the first time, the Presidio Trust, in association with the General Services Administration (GSA), will present a live auction of itemssalvaged from Presidio buildings since the U.S. Army’s 1994 departure. As a first step in preparing park buildings for new uses, the Presidio Trust Salvage Department has combed through hundreds of sites, including the former Letterman Hospital, collecting items with remaining value and useful life.

Ranging from the conventional to the eclectic, items for sale include claw-foot bathtubs, tools, antique display cases, stainless steel cabinetry, laboratory casework, machinery, furniture, vintage fixtures, household and industrial lighting, and some extraordinary pieces of custom cabinetry… even a grand piano and a Hammond organ.

Items will be sold both individually and in small lots. Here’s how to participate:

Attend a Preview

A preview of sale items will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, August 25 and 26, from 9 to 1 pm, or by appointment. To schedule an appointment, call (415) 561-4260. The Preview will be held at the Salvage Warehouse, 1243 Appleton Street, in the Presidio. View map.

Join Us at the Live Action

The live auction will be held on Friday, August 28, starting at 9 am at the Herbst International Exhibition Hall at the Presidio, 385 Moraga Avenue. Doors will open, and registration will begin at 8 am. Please bring photo identification and a Tax ID number or Social Security number. View map.

View the Gallery of Auction Items

View a Map of Preview and Auction Locations

Questions? Please call the Presidio Trust at (415) 561-4260.

All the deets, after the jump