Coming this year: The Queen Mary’s partial reopening

Fans of the venerable Queen Mary who have waited more than two years to visit Long Beach’s aging tourist attraction may not have long to wait.

A summer of critical repair work on the Queen Mary has put the city on track to move into the final phase of renovation, the Long Beach City Council said in a news release Monday. Parts of the converted British ocean liner, which was completely closed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, are due to open to the public by the end of the year, officials said.

Recent upgrades have included safety and strengthening repairs to the ship’s interior walls to improve stability, removing old lifeboats that stressed the ship’s support structure, and initiating the installation of an automatic pumping system to prevent potential flooding.

The city is currently fitting the ship with an emergency generator and is completing the installation of boilers and heat exchangers.

About 75% of the work — mostly plumbing, mechanical and other metalwork — should be completed by the end of the year, officials said. All internal repairs should be completed by early 2023, allowing the city to work on aesthetic projects like paint and flooring.

“We are pleased that repairs are complete to ensure a successful preview later this year,” said Eric Lopez, director of the Department of Public Works.

Over the past 50 years, Long Beach has brought in several companies — including Walt Disney Co. — to try to turn the ship into a profitable tourist attraction, with mixed results. Disney planned to incorporate the ship into a $3 billion ocean-themed amusement park in 1990, but abandoned the idea a few years later.

The former ocean liner closed in May 2020 due to the pandemic and became a floating hotel. Several studies have estimated that hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades are required to continue operations, including a 2021 report calling for $23 million in immediate repairs to prevent the ship capsizes. Long Beach had considered sinking the 88-year-old ship afterwards take control of the ship last year by the previous lessees who filed for bankruptcy and defaulted on leases. But even scraping it off could mean a $190 million price tag, officials learned.

Since the restoration project began earlier this year, it has cost an estimated $6 million to keep the Queen Mary afloat. But officials say the price will be offset because the ship generates revenue through special events and filming opportunities, including a popular Halloween celebration.

The Queen Mary’s partial reopening was previously scheduled for October. Coming this year: The Queen Mary’s partial reopening

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