Mill Resort set
to purchase Mississippi Queen
to be permanent
attraction on Madison riverfront
(January 2009 ) Madison, Ind.s riverfront
is about to become the site of a major attraction if Bob Przewlockis
pending purchase of the Mississippi Queen is completed in the coming
days. The owner and developer of River Mill Resort on the riverfront
is close to negotiating the purchase of the paddlewheeler for an undisclosed
amount from Los Angeles-based Ambassadors International.
by Don Ward
Mississippi Queen riverboat was
built in 1976 to mark the American
Bicentennial. Hopes are high the
boat will be in place to celebrate
Madisons 2009 Bicentennial.
The company owns the entire six-vessel fleet of riverboats,
including the Delta and American Queens. The Mississippi, Delta and
American Queens plied the Ohio River and are docked in New Orleans.
The companys West Coast vessels the Empress of the North,
Queen of the West and Columbia Queen previously plied the
Columbia River and are docked in Seattle.
Przewlocki wants to permanently dock the Mississippi Queen in front
of his River Mill Resort and operate it as a floating hotel, complete
with two restaurants and five bars. The vessel also features a disco,
movie theater, swimming pool, spa and banquet facility. It has 208 state
rooms to house 458 passengers plus additional cabins used to house 156
Our offer has been accepted, and now there are just some engineering
and logistical issues that must be resolved during this time of due
diligence, said David Landau, who works for Przewlocki as the
on-site River Mill Resort property manager.
Once the deal is complete, our plan is to bring the boat to Madison
as soon as possible so we can build the floating dock system and marina,
where it will be permanently moored in front of River Mill Resort,
formerly the Meese building. There will be a boardwalk type platform
alongside of it.
Crew members: 157
State Rooms: 208
382 feet in length
68 feet wide
70 ton paddle wheel
Pool, spa, movie theater
Built in 1976 for the American Bicentennial
Paddlewheel: 22 feet diameter, 36 feet wide, weighing
Onboard: The glassed-in engine room and Paddle Wheel
Bar with floor-to-ceiling windows give passengers the unique opportunity
of watching the mechanics in action. The calliope, (the largest
calliope on the river with 44 pipes) is a steam driven organ whose
music can be heard for five miles, announcing the boats
arrival to the locals.
Decor: The decor is All American, with floral wallpaper
and fabric, beveled mirrors and crystal chandeliers and polished
brass railings. Staircases are red carpeted with ornate banisters,
chair and divans are Victorian.
Landau said he does not anticipate having any trouble
obtaining the required permits from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
to built the marina and dock on the river.
He added that having the Queen in Madison will be great for tourists
who want to spend time down on the river or ride the trolley or horse-drawn
carriages to and from Main Street. The vessel also is expected to employ
50 to 75 fulltime people and another 25 part-time.
Majestic America Line operated the fleet of steamboats for Ambassadors
International, which put the fleet up for sale last year. The company
ceased operations at the end of the 2008 season and is not booking cruises
for 2009 for any of its vessels. The Delta Queen made its last stop
in Madison in late October as part of its farewell cruise to Cincinnati
and back to New Orleans, where it has been ever since.
The Mississippi Queen was built in 1976 to mark the American Bicentennial,
and Przewlocki is hoping to have the vessel operating in Madison in
time for the citys June 2009 Bicentennial Celebration. The vessel
did not cruise the past two years.
It was built as a replica of the great steamboat era, Landau
said. There is very little for us to do to get it operational;
just cleanup and some mechanical rehab.
The Mississippi Queen is the second-largest riverboat in existence,
after the American Queen. It is an authentic steamboat with a 70-ton
paddlewheel. The glassed-in engine room and Paddle Wheel Bar with floor-to-ceiling
windows give passengers the unique opportunity of watching the mechanics
in action. The boats caliope, with 44 pipes, is the largest in
existence. It features a steam-driven organ whose music can be heard
for five miles.
Przewlocki and Landau say they are close to negotiating a contract with
a worldwide financial and professional services firm, Jones Lang LaSalle,
which specializes in real estate and investment management. It employs
more than 30,000 people in 700 cities in 60 countries. If the deal is
made with JLL, the company would complete the negotiations of the purchase
of the Mississippi Queen, then handle all lease agreements for on-board
operators of the hotel, restaurants and bars, Landau said.
Reached at her Detroit office in late December, Jones Lang LaSalle vice
president Carole Rich said she is excited about the recent talks with
River Mill Resort and says the two companies are close to a deal.
We are just now getting our arms around the project, said
Rich. Id say were not pregnant yet, but were
dating. It sounds fascinating.
She said the company must evaluate the proposal on many levels and then
it will make its decision of whether to get involved with River Mill
Resorts grandiose plans for the landbased condos, entertainment
complex and floating hotel and restaurants.
Madison Mayor Tim Armstrong said having the Queen in Madison will be
a great attraction for our residents and visitors. I hope they
can pull it off. I am constantly fascinated with what they are doing
down there on the river. They have big dreams for Madison.
Landau, meanwhile, says the Mississippi Queen will be the perfect complement
to the River Mill Resort project.
Not only will the Queen pay tribute to Madisons steamboat
history, it will fit in nicely with what we are doing at River Mill
Resort. It will be a major attraction parked right in front of our premier
entertainment complex, he said.
For more information on the riverfront
development, visit: www.RiverMillResort.com.
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