LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — For the first time in more than 40 years, the city of Long Beach Friday announced it would regain full control of the Queen Mary, effective immediately.
"For the first time in decades, Long Beach has full control of the Queen Mary," Mayor Robert Garcia said. "We will be fully engaged in the preservation of this historic landmark and are incredibly grateful for this opportunity."
According to a news release, the city was able to regain control of the ship after Urban Commons Queensway LLC, the current lessee, decided to surrender its existing leases and file a motion to formally reject the leases through the bankruptcy process.
According to the city, Urban Commons Queensway LLC was in default of several lease provisions, including failing to maintain the ship caused in part by decades of deferred maintenance by former ship operators.
Next week, the Long Beach City Council is set to consider authorizing $500,000 in Tidelands Critical Infrastructure funds to begin testing and design work for "the most critical repairs recommended in recent inspections." Those efforts include bulkhead repairs, lifeboat removal and the installation of an emergency generator, temporary bilge pumps, and water intrusion warning systems.
The city is also expected to enter into a $2 million contract with Evolution Hospitality to handle the day-to-day operations of the Queen Mary Hotel and surrounding property at the June 8 meeting.
According to the city, the immediate repairs are estimated to cost a minimum of $5 million.
The city has also regained control of the surrounding properties, which include more than 40 acres of parks, cruise terminals and parking lots.
"I am excited about this once in a generation opportunity to set the course for future preservation and development of our City's icon," Councilwoman Cindy Allen said. "This is a chance to enhance our stewardship of the Queen Mary and I look forward to working with my colleagues to lead the upcoming discussions. We know this is a big undertaking, and we are committed to doing right by our community who hold the Queen Mary dear in their hearts."
The city last has full control of the ship in 1978 and, prior to leasing to private companies, the Port of Long Beach held ownership until 1993. The Port is said to be conducting a study on resuming ownership of the ship and surrounding properties.
The Queen Mary will remain closed to the public while the critical repairs are completed, the city said.
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