For the first time in over 40 years, the City of Long Beach has regained full control of the Queen Mary. The city is committed to preserving the historic Queen Mary, ensuring the ship is properly restored and cared for.
Built as a glamorous ocean liner, the famous Queen Mary transported the rich and famous, military troops and common vacationers between the old and the new world. Together with RMS Queen Elizabeth, the ship sailed primarily on the North Atlantic Ocean. Between 1936 and 1967 they provided a weekly express service between Southampton, Cherbourg and New York City for Cunard Line. The two ships dominated the transatlantic passenger transportation market until the late 1950s when jet airplanes took over. RMS Queen Mary was officially retired from service in 1967 and found her final home in Long Beach, California.
Since then the Queen Mary has been a landmark of the Long Beach shoreline and greeted over 50 million visitors from around the world.
In April 2016 Urban Commons Queensway, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment and development firm, took over control of Queen Mary as part of a 66-year lease. Recently the investment company decided to surrender the lease and file a motion to formally reject the lease through the bankruptcy process. The lessee was in default of several provisions of the leases, including failure to maintain the ship.
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In a reaction Mayor Robert Garcia said: “For the first time in decades, Long Beach has full control of the Queen Mary. We will be fully engaged in the preservation of this historic landmark and are incredibly grateful for this opportunity.”
The City of Long Beach last had day-to-day control of the Queen Mary in 1978 and, prior to leasing to private companies over the last few decades, the Port of Long Beach held ownership until 1993. At the request of the City Council, the Port of Long Beach is currently conducting a study of resuming ownership of the Queen Mary and surrounding properties.
To protect the safety and stability of the Queen Mary, Long Beach City Council will consider the immediate authorization of $500,000 in Tidelands Critical Infrastructure funds to begin testing and design work for the most critical repairs. These include bulkhead repairs, lifeboat removal, and the installation of an emergency generator, temporary bilge pumps, and water intrusion warning systems. The immediate repairs are currently estimated to cost a minimum of $5 million.
The ship will remain closed to the public while critical repairs are completed.
The city will also regain control of the surrounding properties which includes over 40 acres of parks, cruise terminals and parking lots. This will provide a historic opportunity for the city of Long Beach to reactivate and refresh these areas for public use, special events, and filming opportunities which provide important revenue-generating activities to support the Queen Mary.
Additionally, the city is prepared to immediately enter into a $2 million contract with Evolution Hospitality, a third-party hospitality management company with experience managing boutique hotels and resorts. Over the past 11 years, Evolution Hospitality has served as a third-party contract operator and has a proven ability to manage the unique day-to-day operations of the Queen Mary Hotel and surrounding property. The city’s proposed contract with Evolution Hospitality will extend for a period of six months with the option to renew for an additional sixth-month period if necessary.