Eagle Hospitality Trust sponsor developing 30-year plan for Queen Mary floating hotel

The Queen Mary is a retired British ocean liner upon which sits Eagle Hospitality Trust's iconic 347-room hotel, its second-largest asset. PHOTO: QUEEN MARY

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Eagle Hospitality Trust's (EHT) sponsor is working on a 30-year plan to preserve and improve the trust's Queen Mary floating hotel docked in Long Beach, California.

Urban Commons (UC), which leases the historic ship, announced this in a statement released to Singapore media on Monday (Jan 20), although it did not disclose when the plan will be published.

The Queen Mary is a retired British ocean liner upon which sits EHT's iconic 347-room hotel, its second-largest asset. Stapled securities of Singapore-listed EHT took a dive in October last year following news coverage on critical reports of the ship's deteriorating condition. In response to this, EHT has said that UC is not at risk of losing the lease and that UC is responsible for all the repair work that the Queen Mary floating hotel requires, and these expenses will not come out of EHT's own pocket.

The announcement of UC's preservation blueprint comes almost a month after the long-time consultant for the Queen Mary was fired after he issued the scathing reports on the ship's condition. The City of Long Beach in California, which leases the ship to UC, terminated its exclusive contract with Edward Pribonic, an independent engineer who had been conducting monthly inspections of the Queen Mary for almost three decades.

UC said its blueprint will be accessible to the public and outline major renovations along with their associated costs, to safeguard the ship's entire framework and maintain its "iconic" image.

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Annual inspections are part of the 30-year plan, as are "close-up surveys" to be done every five years, the Los Angeles-based real estate investment and development firm said. These reviews are meant to ensure that the plan is being implemented and to update and reprioritise it if needed.

Every 10 years, an additional decade will also be added to the plan.

UC is working with a marine surveyor and structural engineer to create the plan which will cover aesthetic, structural and engineering issues, said John Thomas, historic resources adviser at the Queen Mary.

These issues will not only cover the present state of those areas but also anticipate decades of continuous work with associate capital investment, he added.

The 30-year plan will address any further studies and establish a "comprehensive" maintenance and monitoring plan for the vessel, according to Mr Thomas.

Separately, on Friday night, EHT disclosed that its single-largest shareholder had sold 20 million stapled securities in EHT via a married deal, paring his stake from 13 per cent to 10.69 per cent.

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