Historic Ocean Liner Could Become a Red Hook Attraction
With just days left until the owners of the historic SS United States may be forced to sell the enormous vessel, a Brooklyn developer has come forward with a plan to turn the ship into a mixed-use development. The Brooklyn Paper reports that John Quadrozzi Jr., the concrete magnate who owns the Gowanus Bay Terminal, has offered to house the ship at that terminal rent-free, and wants to work with the ship’s owners to revamp its 12 decks for various uses, including office space, museums, and a maritime school.
Rendering for the SS United States development in Red Hook, via SS United States Conservancy
“I can’t say enough how exciting it would be to be a part of getting this ship sited in this area of Red Hook,” Quadrozzi told the Paper. His ambitious plans for the vessel include buildings “offices for start-ups, a gym and swimming pool, eateries, a theater, a maritime school, and a maritime museum.” He also claims that the ship would be green and self-sustaining, by “converting waste to energy and harnessing solar and wind power.”
There’s just one problem: That conversion would cost an estimated $50 to $200 million to complete, in addition to another $2 million to tow the former ocean liner to Brooklyn. And that’s not even taking into account the money the SS United States Conservancy still needs to raise to retain the ship: Currently, it’s docked near an Ikea in Philadelphia, and it costs $60,000 per month to keep it afloat. But the Conservancy, which owns the ship, is struggling to raise the $500,000 in emergency funds that they need to retain their hold on the ship. A crowd-funding campaign, Save the United States, is underway, but time is running out: According to the conservancy, if they don’t have the necessary cash by October 31, they may be forced to sell the ship.
The conservancy is also entertaining another plan to turn the ship into a mixed-use development, from a Manhattan-based firm, but plans for that haven’t been detailed yet.