• Matt Esnayra

What happens now that Long Beach has reclaimed custody of the Queen Mary?

For the first time in 40 years, the City of Long Beach has regained "full control" of the day-to-day operations of the Queen Mary.

The state of play:

The dormant cruise liner's former leaseholder, Urban Commons, planned to overhaul the Queen Mary site with a new lavish shopping and entertainment center with the Queen Mary as the centerpiece. Still, all of that came to an end due to the pandemic's economic fallout, and ongoing problems led the company to file for bankruptcy in January and surrender the lease.

  • The City maintains that Urban Commons violated the lease by failing to repair the ship, which resulted from decades of postponed maintenance by earlier operators.

  • Eagle Hospitality Trust, the ship's former operator, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy holding more than $500 million in debt, per LB Post.

Why it matters:

For the past 50 years, multiple companies have operated the Queen Mary property with varied outcomes; even the Walt Disney Corporation had plans to convert the ship into a Haunted Mansion like attraction only to abandon the project in the 1990s, according to SF Gate.

  • From 1993 to 2005, Queen's Seaport Development Inc held the lease to the dormant ocean liner only to file for bankruptcy, owing the city millions in back rent.

  • In 2017, a report was conducted by vessel engineers estimated that it would cost $289 million in modifications and upgrades to keep parts of the ship from flooding, according to the LA Times.

  • Elliott Bay Design Group conducted a report on the ship in April and told the City that an additional $23 million is needed to keep the ship from possibly capsizing over the next two years.

What's Next:

The Long Beach City Council will consider approving $500,000 in funds to begin testing and design work on the most critical repairs recommended by recent inspections.

  • City staff is working to explore additional financing possibilities to cover these immediate repairs, which could cost at least $5 million and be brought to the Council later.

  • The ship will remain closed to the public to carry out crucial repairs.

  • The City Council will commence another study to consider new possibilities to conserve the Queen Mary.

  • 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.

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