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TITANIC IDEA SURFACES IN S.F.
Plan for floating hotel -- full-size copy of ill-fated liner
Thursday, November 2, 2000
The Port of San Francisco has found itself in some very rough seas of late.
Now it seems to be heading into uncharted waters.
And out of the murky depths has come a grandiose idea for a big city run by
people with big plans. It's huge. It's Titanic.
Actually, it's Titanic II.
The port is considering a proposal floated by a development group with close
ties to the mayor to build an exact copy of the Titanic and to dock it at
the cruise line terminal at Pier 35. The difference is that this ocean liner
won't be cruising anywhere. Instead, it would be a 568-room floating hotel
and conference center, with several restaurants and a small museum on board.
The estimated $150 million project would include the construction of a ship
860 feet long with 94-foot beam, featuring five decks of "luxurious"
staterooms, an indoor swimming pool, an observation platform and the
re-creation of the original ship's bridge, captain's cabin and wireless
Titanic II, according to one of the founding partners of Maritime
International LLC, would cater to high-end tourist groups and corporate
clients. The partnership projects the ship as a four-star hotel with all
amenities and a built-in niche market: Fans of "Titanic" the movie probably
would find it irresistible, since the film has already grossed nearly $2
"The idea is to bring the Titanic back to life," partner Hans Ullmark told
the Port Commission when the group presented it for the first time three
weeks ago. "We'd like to combine the most beautiful city in the world with .
. . the world's most beautiful ship. Welcome to Titanic II."
The developers say the floating hotel would bring as much as $7 million to
the local economy and provide for as many as 1,000 jobs. They contend,
without providing details, that the new Titanic would be immediately
profitable. And they added an only-in-San Francisco touch: To get cars off
the Embarcadero, Titanic II would provide valet parking for 440 vehicles
within its cavernous bowels.
The group has given the port staff a glossy 16-page color brochure outlining
the ship-hotel in breathless tones. "Titanic II will be as grand and
majestic as the original when she captured the world's attention with her
launching," the brochure reads. "So, too, her entrance under the Golden Gate
Bridge will be a worldwide media event. We hope to have Kate Winslet and
Leonardo DiCaprio riding the bow on her entrance into the bay."
Hooray for Hollywood. If only she could sink once a day and give the
tourists a good thrill ride along with their well-appointed stateroom.
Yet like the awed scribes who wrote about the original passenger ship, which
set sail from England on its way to New York in 1912, the group backing the
plan is calling the floating hotel idea unsinkable.
Or did they mean unthinkable?
The proponents may not have to worry about ice this time. But public
opinion? This ship is taking on water before it's even been built...
"My God, you're kidding, right?" said one waterfront business owner when I
told him about the idea. "That's straight out of Vegas. No, that's beyond
Yet don't think for a minute that just because Titanic II seems like a
publicist's over-saturated dream that this proposal won't receive serious
consideration. Because one of the five founding partners of the development
team is none other than Billy Rutland, a well-known lobbyist and a Friend of
Willie (FOW) of the highest standing. Rutland has had to discuss his ties to
the mayor on so many controversial projects that he's actually protested to
reporters that he suffers because he's so close to the mayor...
The developers certainly have no problem with it. Indeed, they're so excited
about the prospect that they think if Titanic II comes to San Francisco's
shore, other cities will want their own version, spawning Titanic III, IV,
V, a virtual Hard Rock Cafe of the high seas.
One small drawback remains. Despite their enthusiasm about the re- creation
of the infamous passenger cruise ship, Titanic II would have only a
6,000-horsepower engine, just enough to allow it to putter around the harbor
"So we could take her out for a little spin," Ullmark said. "But that's
about all. If it gets built, she will have to be towed into the bay."
Previous NHNE News List Titanic Story:
MILLIONAIRE PLANS NEW TITANIC
This Is London
Sunday, June 4, 2000
The Titanic could be back on the high seas again if a South African
multi-millionaire's dream comes true.
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