SS United States Conservancy makes final push to save fabled ocean liner from being sold for scrap
Time is nearly up to save America’s Flagship, says the SS United States Conservancy. With 2,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity hanging in the balance, America’s Flagship, the SS United States, is making her final push to return home to New York in time to avoid being sold for scrap. The SS United States Conservancy, the non-profit organization that owns the legendary 990-foot-long liner, has announced it will need to make a determination about the ship’s future by the end of this month unless resources are found in short order to help cover the vessel’s ongoing maintenance costs.
The Conservancy is urgently discussing with developers and city and state officials plans for transforming the world’s fastest ocean liner into an exciting hospitality, retail, event, restaurant, entertainment and museum complex. As was reported by the New York Times in July, potential sites for the ship are under consideration in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
But it’s a tight timeline for the Conservancy, which has raised additional resources in recent months toward the ship’s upkeep and its curatorial programs. It must decide by the end of September whether to sell or scrap the historic ship unless it has entered into a funded option with a developer or has attracted major new philanthropic support.
“We need someone with vision to step in and save the United States. We’ve made great strides in recent months, but what we need now is more time. This is an opportunity for a true hero to come forward and ensure the great potential of this project is realized. Discussions are underway with city and state officials to confirm that our plans meet regulatory guidelines and provide significant economic benefits, but the clock is ticking,” said the Conservancy’s Executive Director Susan Gibbs.
The ship has faced its end several times before. Most recently in 2011, the SS United States was just days away from being scrapped when a major gift to the Conservancy helped the grassroots organization purchase the vessel. Gibbs and her team are working overtime to generate another 11th-hour save.
“The SS United States has long been a symbol of American power and innovation. After years of work, we have serious interest from developers and a workable plan to return the vessel to New York as a thriving destination in the capital of the world. However, due to a range of circumstances related to the ship’s upkeep, we are only weeks away from a gut-wrenching decision we have all worked so hard to avoid.”
The Conservancy spends more than $60,000 per month to pay for the ship’s dockage, insurance and maintenance costs at her current pier in Philadelphia. The organization is funded by private donations and has not received any government support.
The massive ship offers an estimated 650,000 square feet of interior and exterior space for development. More than 100 feet longer than the Titanic, the last American ocean liner still holds the transatlantic speed record. The SS United States is widely considered one of the greatest ships ever built. Upon her return to the Big Apple after her maiden voyage in 1952, her crew was honored with a tickertape parade up the Canyon of Heroes in Lower Manhattan.
“This idea has all the makings of a great waterfront success story,” said Roland Lewis, president of the New York Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. “Bringing the SS United States back to New York can be done in a way which allows us to validate our concepts for sustainable waterfront development. New York has worked harder than any large city in America to bring people back to the waterfront and create an innovative destination for residents and tourists alike. The SS United States will be an instant attraction.”
“This is a project both the public and government can support,” said Dan McSweeney, managing director of the Conservancy’s Redevelopment Project. “There is solid support for our vision, but we need someone who loves protecting our history to step up to help or invest. We can create thousands of jobs, generate significant tax revenues, offer unique, world-class amenities, enhance public parks in a resilient and sustainable fashion, and even generate clean and renewable energy for the local community,” he added.
To learn more about the SS United States and contribute to the Conservancy visit www.ssusc.org.
Media Contact – Thomas Basile – 917-579-2216 – [email protected].