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Renderings courtesy of Benoy.
Well, the Queen Mary has seen better days—and people know it.
A former Harbor Commissioner pitched the idea of an aerial tram that hauls people to and from DTLB to the Queen Mary.
Some have suggested even tanking the historic relic. But perhaps most hopeful, the organization that has taken over the master lease of the land surrounding the iconic ship have released renderings on what they hope will bring tourism to the area: a $250M overhaul that includes an entertainment and retail complex: Queen Mary Island.
“We are, therefore, thrilled to announce that, with the help of our British counterparts at Urban Legacies, the bulk of the design for this groundbreaking center has been completed and, even though we’re several years away from breaking ground, we wanted to give you a glimpse of what Queen Mary Island has waiting in store for you,” said Urban Commons in a statement.
According to Mayor Robert Garcia, the foci of the complex are music and entertainment, with retail taking a sideline. Given the waterfront amphitheater being proposed on the west side of the complex and the array of restaurant outlets being offered, foodies and concert goers will rejoice. Tack onto that a wave machine for in-place surfing, rock climbing walls, and possibly DTLB’s second ferris wheel and you’re good to go.
The project is also partly due to the Queen Mary Task Force, a 12-member team appointed by Garcia to establish an optimal approach for reimagining and developing the area around the ship, and engage the public in the development process. Since forming in December of 2015, the Task Force has held various outreach events, including a site tour and comprehensive planning and design workshops to solicit public input, that have ultimately led to this point.
Urban Commons, chosen by the City of Long Beach nearly two years ago to take over the marine complex, officially took over the lease last year under a 66-year agreement.
Taylor Woods, principal of Urban Commons, has told media outlets that hopes are high: boat slips, a marina, an 200-room boutique hotel landside, restaurants, retail, possibly doubling the footprint of Carnival Cruises’ port, and major updates to the ship itself that will complement the historic aspects of the Queen—and the renderings show just that.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to transform a beloved Southern California icon into a beloved world-class destination,” Woods said.
Of course, this is easier said than done because it is on Urban Commons to deliver what other groups—like the Queen’s last master of the lease, Garrison Investment Group—failed to do.
Urban Commons, according to the lease agreement, will be required to make an annual rent payment of $300K (including 10% of operating revenues). The percentage payment would be delivered to City Hall to the extent that amount exceeds Urban Commons’ minimum rent obligation.
Woods said Urban Commons will spend $10M to $15M to renovate the ship itself while an additional $250M will be needed to develop the surrounding land—monies that Woods claim Urban Commons can raise itself.
The development plans arrive on a report that said the 81-year-old ocean liner “urgently needs $5.7 million in fixes and requires a total of $289 million in repairs over the next five years. The report by an independent engineering firm was requested by the company that previously operated the lease for the Queen Mary.”
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