[3:50 p.m.] Urban Commons, the master leaseholder for the Queen Mary and surrounding land, reached out to the Business Journal this afternoon after reading the publication’s July 5 article about Carnival Cruise Line’s desire to expand its presence in Long Beach.
In the article, the Business Journal quoted Carlos Torres de Navarra, Carnival’s vice president of commercial port operations, who said Carnival has wanted to expand in Long Beach for years and that the company recently told city officials, “. . . we’re still having some issues with the new landlord [Urban Commons] and the city’s timing in terms of getting our approval to move forward with the improvements.”
Carnival wants to replace one of its three cruise ships with a larger vessel. In order to do so, the company has been seeking approval to take over the entire dome adjacent to the Queen Mary. The cruise line currently utilizes about 45% of the dome.
A spokesperson for Urban Commons sent the following statement on behalf of the company: “Urban Commons fully supports the expansion of Carnival Cruise Lines operations in Long Beach and has committed to creating a larger, first-class facility to accommodate their growth. Although we only took over the lease in April, we initiated discussions with the Carnival team several months ago to create a plan for their operations in Long Beach and we look forward to working with their team to move quickly on obtaining the City’s approval and building their new facilities ahead of our master plan development.”
Asked to respond to Urban Commons’ statement, de Navarra shared the following: “What we have here is trying to bridge the short term need versus long term need. We can indeed confirm that we have been having discussions about a new terminal that would be somewhere near where the current pier is, but we look at that as a long-term discussion. In other words, knowing what it took us to get what we have now and how many years that took . . . it could take years for that to come to fruition. So what we’re saying is look, in the meantime, let us take over the other side of the dome, bring the additional business now, and at the same time let’s continue to keep having the discussion about a longer term solution.
“So that was our proposal. And it seems as though the city . . . understood and it was just a matter of talking to their tenant, Urban Commons, about that potential solution. It seems to be favorably received by the city. . . . We started out with a very good relationship with Urban Commons. That’s not what’s at stake here. What’s at stake here, and what is really the core of the issue, is Urban Commons has a long-term solution. And what we’re looking for is something to get us from where we are today to that long term solution.”