Observing Los Angeles

Schwarzenegger speaks up for Venice's fear of Google

where-are-we-venice-boardwa.jpgArnold Schwarzenegger hung out in Venice during his bodybuilder days and still has real estate holdings by the beach. He tells the New York Times' Adam Nagourney that he understands why the bodybuilder community fears being pushed out of Venice by the Google hordes. The company's expansion plans may include the building that houses Gold's Gym, where Schwarzenegger stopped in the other morning.

“As soon as I walked in, they said: ‘You heard about Google? Why don’t you have your staff look into this?’ ” former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who began his professional career as a bodybuilder here 44 years ago, said after he emerged from a throng of worried muscle-bound admirers at Gold’s Gym. “It’s this conspiracy theory: ‘Google is coming! They are going to take over and wipe out our bodybuilding.’ ”

In November, Google moved an army of sales and technology employees into 100,000 square feet in two Venice buildings. It is negotiating leases on another 100,000 square feet, according to real estate agents. That includes the 31,000-square-foot expanse that is Gold’s Gym, the very bodybuilding symbol of Venice, if not the universe, where Mr. Schwarzenegger stopped by the other morning.

No matter that Google officials said they had no plans to displace the fabled gym. Although a spokesman, Jordan Newman, said, “We’re not taking over Gold’s,” the company’s reluctance to talk about its long-term ambition for Venice, or why it would want anything to do with the Gold’s building, has stirred a storm of speculation and anxiety....

Nathanial Moon, bulging with muscles, called it “the ultimate revenge of the nerds, the greatest way of getting back at all the guys that stuffed people from Google into lockers from high school and stole all their prom dates. And you can’t fight against Google, because they’ve got billions of dollars.”

Schwarzenegger, a fan of Google being in Venice, says the firm "has bought everything in Venice that is available.” But they didn't get quite everything. The old World Gym, where Schwarzenegger bulked up way back when, is being developed into high-end shops and offices by its new owner: (cough) Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnold quote of the day: "You never have to smoke a joint in Venice. You just go on a bicycle ride in the morning, you just inhale, and you live off everyone else.”

LA Observed photo: Venice boardwalk

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