After 10 public meetings, charrettes and workshops, the Queen Mary Land Development Task Force presented its finalized document of guiding principles to the Long Beach City Council on September 20.
“This document reflects guidelines to help assist the planning department when Urban Commons submits a design to the city,” Michael Bohn, chair of the task force, said. “I hope the developer finds the document useful and will implement many or most of our ideas in order to create a world class destination.”
Over the course of nine months, the task force was charged with analyzing the undeveloped 65 acres of land and water around the iconic ship and determining recommendations regarding development concepts for the property’s master leaseholder, Urban Commons. The task force’s work culminated in a 16-page document and a nine-slide PowerPoint presentation.
“The members of the task force brought an incredible depth of experience and knowledge to their 10 public meetings, and residents were also able to offer input and ideas to the task force,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a press release. “The result is a set of “Guiding Principles” that will help guide the city and Urban Commons moving forward, ensuring we develop that land in a way that brings the best possible benefits to Long Beach.”
In the same press release, Garcia – who, along with former the vice mayor/councilmember, Suja Lowenthal, recommended the formation of the task force – simplified each of the seven principles from short paragraphs to a single sentences:
1. The Queen Mary must remain the focal point of the development and be restored to its original grandeur.
2. Development should include authentic, quality architecture appropriate for a maritime setting.
3. There should be easy public access to the area.
4. There should be improved transportation to connect the area to the rest of the city.
5. The area should be a multi-purpose, multi-use district and incorporate sustainable design.
6. There should be iconic design features.
7. It should be a world-class outdoor entertainment venue.
“These principles are an excellent guide for Urban Commons as it completes its design plan for submission to the city,” Garcia said. “The task force did an outstanding job in developing these principles, and I want to thank all of them for their thoroughness, insight and hard work.”
Urban Commons’ staff said that even though the task force worked independently of the company, the vision of the task force, as laid out by the guiding principles, as well as recommended elements and themes, aligns with the company’s vision.
Some of the elements and themes included in the task force document are a sense of arrival by way of a grand entry to the site, ideas for parking and engaging pedestrians on foot or bike, emphasizing waterfront features and engaging visitors with the water, providing public open space and creating an overall “wharf-like” environment.
“What I look forward to is the transformation of an ugly parking lot into a unique, accessible waterfront environment that complements the iconic Queen Mary and allows people to enjoy the distinctive views of our downtown,” Bohn said. “I can say the [task force] is proud and excited about the final document. The community was positive, to the point and contributed significantly to the document.”
The work of the task force is completed. The next step is for the city to transmit the document to Urban Commons, which will then take the recommendations into consideration before submitting a concept plan to the city.
The full document submitted by the Queen Mary Land Development Task Force can be viewed online at bit.ly/2cXgBmq.