Urban Commons Looks To Chart A New Course For The Historic Luxury Liner
A Los Angeles real estate development company, Urban Commons, is spending $10-15 million to renovate the Queen Mary in Long Beach and $250 million overall to develop the surrounding land.
Work on the ship is to begin immediately.
While specific plans are still in the works, there’s talk of a marina, restaurants, a concert amphitheater, even a huge ferris wheel along the lines of the London Eye and the High Roller in Las Vegas.
But will it keep the legendary ship afloat financially speaking?
A Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
Once the world’s premier luxury liner, the Queen Mary has been in Long Beach since 1967 and while she doesn’t go anywhere, she’s been resting on stormy seas since her arrival.
City officials at the time had the “build it and they will come” mentality but quickly learned you just don’t plop a ship down in your city, sit back with your feet on the deck and start collecting money.
You need something more than the ship itself to get people to go to it.
Oh, developers have tried. A shopping village was once built around it, kind of like the one just across the water in Rainbow Harbor. But it was shoved aside for grand plans of an amusement park that never dropped anchor, so to speak. Some of the buildings from the shopping village are still there, empty of course.
Development of the Queen Mary location has been like a boulevard of broken dreams.
The problem with the Queen Mary is its location. It’s across the water from downtown Long Beach and the popular Pike area and Pine Ave., where all the bars and restaurants are located.
As a result, it’s somewhat inaccessible; it’s simply not convenient for people who are at the pike or Convention Center to get to it. And you certainly can’t stroll over to it.
Getting to the Queen Mary requires driving over a bridge (and with 710 freeway construction, even PubClub.com got lost recently trying to find our way), although there is a water taxi and a free Passport bus.
Plus, it’s pricy.
It cost $27 just to get on the ship, plus $15 to park. Heck, you still have to pay the $27 if you simply want to have a drink at the Observation Bar. That’s a buzzkill right there for any fun-loving people who want have a sunset drink in the Queen Mary’s Art Deco bar.
You can get a guided tour of the ship for that price and it’s actually very entertaining and informative, and there are several special events throughout the year, including New Year’s Eve when different decks have themes from different historical eras.
What the new Queen Mary developers need to do is lower the price to board the ship to $5 (charge more for the tours, of course) and wave it for those who simply want to have some cocktails in the bar.
There should also be a specific water shuttle from the pier at Rainbow Harbor to pick up people, especially those who are in Long Beach for conventions and events.
Then provide some other form of activities in the area other than shopping. Such as nautical-themed putt-putt golf course with holes depicting the history of the ship.
Either that or actually move the Queen Mary into Rainbow Harbor.