The latest renderings of the Queen Mary Island entertainment complex show a 65-acre site packed from the surrounding streets to the water's edge with stores, restaurants, sports venues and entertainment facilities.
Urban Commons, the real estate firm developing the $250-million project, said it has nearly completed the designs for the complex that the company hopes will drive nightlife in that part of Long Beach and fund repairs at the venerable cruise liner docked nearby.
The 81-year-old Queen Mary operates as a floating hotel and hosts music, food and cultural festivals throughout the year. But the ship needs $289 million in repairs over the next several years to continue to operate as a tourist attraction.
The complex proposed by Urban Commons, which has a 66-year lease on the land, would include a 7,000-seat amphitheater, 500,000 square feet of entertainment and retail, an overhauled boardwalk, public music performance space and art installations.
The hub of the complex, according to the renderings, will be dubbed Urban Adventures. It will feature a 150,000-square-foot facility with 22 sports and entertainment activities, including two rooftop surf pavilions, a zip line, a roller coaster, an indoor ice climbing venue, a ropes course and a training ground for fans of "American Ninja Warrior," the televised obstacle course competition.
Groundbreaking for the project is years away because the city of Long Beach still has numerous permits and site plans to approve. The project is being developed with the help of Benoy, an international architecture firm based in Britain.
The idea of turning the land around the Queen Mary into a thriving tourist attraction is not new. Since the ship coasted into the Long Beach harbor in 1967, plans to make the island a nightlife hot spot even included an attempt by Walt Disney Co. to incorporate the ship into a $3-billion sea-themed amusement park. A more recent plan called for a science fiction museum and time-share condominiums. None of the previous plans have taken off.
The land around the ship is now used mostly for parking. Throughout the year, the parking lot area is converted for various events, including concerts, boxing matches, a Scottish culture festival and a Halloween celebration with stage shows and haunted mazes.