The Port of Long Beach will size up the cost of restoring a rundown Queen Mary after its prior operator gave up plans for a hotel and entertainment makeover and filed for bankruptcy last year.
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners voted unanimously to approve several contracts to assess repairs and upkeep of the historic ship, the Long Beach Post reported.
The nearly $3 million assessment would come before a potential transfer of the dilapidated ocean liner from the city of Long Beach to the harbor department, which could face hundreds of millions in repair costs.
The city has owned the ship since it arrived in the 1960s, but until recently has leased it to operators responsible for repairs and upkeep. The most recent operator, Urban Commons, filed for bankruptcy last year.
Its parent company, Singapore-based Eagle Hospitality Trust, in October sought to auction its Queen Mary lease.
The city had inked a deal in 2016 to lease the Queen Mary to Urban Commons for 66 years after its executives promised to develop a $250-million entertainment and hotel complex called Queen Mary Island on the waterfront next to the ship.
The complex was never built, and the company was accused in a city audit of mismanagement, financial misrepresentation and for failing to make needed repairs.
Lloyd’s Register Americas Advisory Services (LR) and ABL USA were awarded contracts for $127,795 and $143,110, respectively, for ship assessments. NRC Environmental Services had its on-call hazardous waste contract amended for another $2.4 million.
With a $300,000 project contingency, the total project will cost just under $3 million.
Sam Joumblat, managing director of finance for the port, said the assessment reports will take up to a year. The city will pay another $1 million toward the project, with another $500,000 being considered to be paid out of revenue generated by the ship.
Taking on the Queen Mary could cost the Port of Long Beach more than $350 million in the next five years, according to an estimate.
A marine survey in 2016 found that the Queen Mary would need up to $289 million in repairs to be viable in the next 10 years. But at the start of this year, few of the recommended structural issues have been fixed and their cost would likely be higher because of the ship’s continuing deterioration.
Port officials declined to comment further on the assessment or the potential transfer of the ship into its care “given that it’s a pending matter before the commission,” according to the Post.
The Queen Mary has been closed to the public for more than two years as Long Beach conducts millions in critical repairs.
Officials hope the ship can reopen later this year. The City Council just approved a contract with Evolution Hospitality for day-to-day operations.
[Long Beach Post] – Dana Bartholomew
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