Queen Mary Island

A rendering of Queen Mary Island and its 2,400 foot boardwalk. Photos: Urban Commons.

Urban Commons has unveiled today its plans for the dramatic $250 million makeover it intends for the land surrounding the Queen Mary as it transforms the 65-acre area into “Queen Mary Island.”

The renderings released by the firm detailed its plans including the installation of entertainment, retail and dining space outside the iconic ocean liner. The plans include a 2,400-foot-long boardwalk, cafes, bars, a 200-room hotel and a total of nearly 700,000 square feet of retail space. The land where those attractions would stand is currently used as parking space.

It would also include a joint-venture with the London-based company Urban Legacies, a company that specializes in experiential activities. Its Urban Adventure installation on Queen Mary Island is proposed to encompass some 150,000 square feet where visitors can experience around 20 interactive activities, including the state’s first indoor ice climbing wall, surfing, zip lining and simulated skydiving. It would be Urban Adventure’s debut in North America.


“Queen Mary Island will hold something for everyone, whether that is adrenaline-inducing activities or simply enjoying live entertainment and dining near the waterfront,” Taylor Woods, Principal of Urban Commons, said in a statement. “We are genuinely excited about creating a place for people to connect, interact and make memories and look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the city as we bring this highly-anticipated destination to life.”

Urban Commons secured the lease to the Queen Mary after a prolonged process that included a legal challenge from residents in the city. The 66-year lease was finalized by the city council in November with the city pledging over $20 million in initial investments.

Queen Mary Island

A report earlier this month revealed that the Queen needed some $289 million in urgent repairs to prevent the hull from collapsing and flooding within the next few years. That figure exceeded the city’s estimate which was closer to $200 million.

Urban Commons worked with the Gensler architecture firm to create its vision of Queen Mary Island. The world-renowned Gensler has worked on many high profile projects including San Francisco International Airport, Shanghai Tower in China and the headquarters of tech giants Facebook and AirBNB.

The city launched a land development task force in September 2015 to make recommendations for how the land surrounding the Queen would be developed. The 12-member team was appointed by Mayor Robert Garcia and confirmed by the city council just months before discussions with Urban Commons began. In July 2016, the task force finalized its guiding document for the land surrounding the ship, something that included plans for a 5-star hotel, a carousel and an amphitheater, most of which appear to be included—the rating of the hotel was not specified—in the renderings released by Urban Commons today.

In August, the firm unveiled its plans to renovate the inside of the ship in a press conference held on board the ship. The firms casts the renderings of planned renovations to the land flanking the Queen as something that will “create an atmosphere that celebrates the best of both cultures and transports guests back to the golden days of the Queen Mary.”


The island is proposed to include various avenues of entry including land, air and sea and blend shipyard-industrial aesthetic with more contemporary structures and attractions. Any plan will have to be approved by the Long Beach City Council, but if social media is any clue to how the city’s top leader feels about the renderings, Queen Mary Island could soon be a reality.

“We all agree it’s time to develop the land around the ship and restore the queen,” Mayor Robert Garcia wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning. “Introducing, Queen Mary Island.”

A video showing planned renovations to the Queen Mary complex can be seen here.

[Editors note: The story has been updated to include contributions made by the Queen Mary Task Force.]

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.