As work continues on the Queen Mary in the hopes of a partial reopening by the end of the year, the City Council on Tuesday approved another $1 million for additional repairs identified by the company tasked with reopening and operating the historic ocean liner.
The item was approved unanimously with no discussion by the council or public comment. Councilmembers Cindy Allen, Stacy Mungo, Suzie Price and Roberto Uranga were absent from the vote.
In June, the council approved a hotel management agreement with Evolution Hospitality for the reopening and operation of the ship and adjacent events for five years. Since then, the company has overseen various improvements aboard the vessel, but city staff say additional repairs necessary for reopening have been identified, including:
- The replacement of linoleum flooring and carpet that will “improve the aesthetics” of the ship and reduce trip hazards. The flooring will be replaced with historically accurate materials.
- HVAC and refrigeration repairs to ensure proper heating and cooling throughout the ship. Kitchen freezers and coolers will be repaired or replaced as needed.
- Elevator modernization to ensure safety while also providing aesthetic improvements.
- The installation of kitchen hoods that meet the fire code and allow food service to resume aboard the ship.
- The installation of new guest room locks for added safety as some older locks are malfunctioning.
Funding for the additional repairs will come from the Tidelands Fund, which is used to pay for projects, maintenance and services along the city’s coastline. While the ship has been closed to the public, the city’s Special Events and Filming Bureau continued to market the Queen Mary as a filming location, which generated $1 million in unbudgeted revenues for the Tideland Fund, according to the staff report included in Tuesday’s council item.
Using $2,870,500 approved as part of the management agreement, Evolution already has addressed plumbing issues throughout the ship, restored internet and Wi-Fi, has begun restoring handrails and is in the process of improving energy efficiency by replacing light bulbs and fixtures, according to the city. The company also has begun the process of replacing the ship’s boilers and heat exchangers.
In addition to ship updates, parking improvements will be made, according to the staff report. The city’s parking operator, LAZ Parking, is working with staff to bring recommendations to council to enhance parking, which is a major revenue source for the vessel.
The parking recommendations are expected to be presented before the end of the year, city spokesperson Kevin Lee told the Post via text message.
City officials had previously announced the Queen Mary would partially reopen by October but pushed the timeline back in late September saying it would be “by the end of the year,” which is still the target, Business Operations Bureau Manager Johnny Vallejo said during the meeting.
It remains unclear which parts of the ship will open this year, according to Lee.
The remainder of the ship is expected to open in phases beginning early next year, Vallejo said.
It’s still unclear how the city could pay for long-term capital improvements on the ship after years of neglect threatened its structural integrity. Keeping the ship operating over the next 25 to 100 years could cost anywhere from $150 million to $500 million depending on how much work the city wants to put in, according to an analysis last year.
Even giving up and scrapping the Queen Mary would be costly, with an estimated price tag of at least $105 million.