(WASHINGTON) — The SS United States Conservancy has entered into an agreement with RXR Realty, a real estate development company, which will begin to explore options for the historic liner’s revitalization, Cruise Industry News reported.
Over the next several months, RXR Realty will be working to determine the viability of SS United States’ redevelopment and will explore a range of potential locations for the historic vessel, which currently sits laid up in Philadelphia.
In connection with its work, RXR will be paying a substantial portion of the ship’s carrying costs and making other investments during this option period. The company will soon be assembling a team to assess the vessel's interior spaces and explore concepts for the ship's revitalization.
In 2016, Crystal Cruises entered into an agreement to develop SS United States, which was ultimately canceled.
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The following is a letter from Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy:
Dear SS United States Conservancy supporters,
As you know, the SS United States Conservancy has worked tirelessly since acquiring America’s flagship to raise awareness of SS United States’ historical importance and ensure that the nation’s greatest and sole remaining ocean liner inspires and endures for generations to come. Our vision has centered on the ship’s conversion into a dynamic mixed-use development and shipboard museum – a gleaming waterfront destination.
Today, we are pleased to announce an important development: The conservancy has entered into an agreement with a prominent commercial real estate development firm, RXR Realty, which will begin to explore options for SS United States’ revitalization.
RXR Realty is a respected, highly qualified commercial real estate developer that currently manages 69 commercial real estate properties and investments with an aggregate gross asset value of approximately $18.1 billion, comprising approximately 24.6 million square feet of commercial properties, including a residential portfolio of approximately 2,600 units under operation or development.
Over the next several months, RXR Realty will be working to determine the viability of SS United States’ redevelopment and will explore a range of potential locations for the historic vessel. In connection with its work, RXR will be paying a substantial portion of the ship’s carrying costs and making other investments during this option period. The company will soon be assembling a team to assess the vessel's interior spaces and explore concepts for the ship's revitalization. The conservancy will work closely with RXR throughout this process and will continue to advance and refine our museum and curatorial plans.
In entering this agreement with the SS United States Conservancy, RXR Realty issued the following statement to our supporters:
"The SS United States is one of America's great vessels and an icon of American engineering and design. Given our history of repurposing and updating some of this country's most historic structures, we are now working with the SS United States Conservancy to explore what options might exist for the ship, going forward. We are currently at the very beginning of this process – a process that will require substantial work on all sides. At the end of this period, we will have a better sense as to whether we have a viable plan and, if so, the specifics of that plan and in which waterfront community it might be actualized."
We will keep you informed as this due diligence process advances. The conservancy’s agreement with RXR Realty is still in its very early stages and much hard work lies ahead. However, we believe that RXR recognizes SS United States’ iconic significance and has the vision, commitment, creativity and expertise needed to redevelop America’s flagship.
It goes without saying that we have reached this milestone for one reason: Because you have continued to support our efforts. We remain profoundly grateful for each and every one of the conservancy’s supporters. You have kept the faith and have refused to “abandon ship,” even when the seas have been stormy.
SS United States serves as a powerful and beautiful symbol of national pride, beauty and resilience. She conveys the message that America’s “can do” spirit is alive and well. She reminds us that when we pull together as a nation, anything is possible.
Again, thank you so much for your continued support, and we look forward to continuing to keep you updated as this process advances.