The Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach for 49 years, is all of a sudden in for some big changes. The ship's just changed hands and the new lessees, Los Angeles-based investment firm Urban Commons, have secured a 66-year "master lease" for the ship, which they'll be remodeling, but they'll also be altering the land all around the QM. They're planning to eventually build out a "bustling retail, dining and entertainment district" on the 45 acres surrounding the ship, according to a release announcing the new leaseholders.
But first, there will be upgrades to the old ocean liner. All the "enhancements" should be finished by the middle of next year, with the ship staying open for both hotel guests and regular touristy ones during the remodeling.
It's not clear exactly what will be done to improve the ship—a rep for the project tells Curbed there are no further details available right now—but we do know that the renovations will leave the one-time cruise ship with "a new aura of regal elegance while maintaining the ship’s cherished historic elements." Work on the ocean liner is set to begin "immediately."
The second phase of the project will transform the "underutilized oceanfront land" that’s next to the ship, turning it into as much of a destination as the ship has been. Long Beach's vice mayor says in a release for the project that she is happy to have Urban Commons as a "a collaborative partner" in the process to reinvigorate the area around the iconic ship. The planning process for the development seems to be in the earliest stages now.
This isn't the only major project headed for Long Beach's waterfront. The Aquarium of the Pacific just last month announced big plans to add a new 29,000-square-foot wing onto their existing facilities. The expansion looks like a glassy, blue whale and will hold a two-story, 300-seat theater and a new main entrance.