Goldenrod - Special Report, July 2003
St. Louis, Missouri
As of July 2003, the Goldrod Showboat is located at St. Louis, privately owned by a real estate venture. One of the new owners, John Schwarz, gave a tour to the boat on July 25th, 2003 and talked about his intentions for the boat. Here is, what steamboats.org has learned about it:
John is a very interesting man, although his view on the Goldenrod is kind of unusual. He is a true real estate man, looking at the boat as a unique floating building with a decent amount of square feet of room that seeks for any kind of usage appropriate to this unique "building". On the first hand this is scary, but thinking about it twice, it's probably the best chance the boat ever had. Because John knows exactly about the unique value he has got with a historic landmark and a boat where there won't be any competitor to his business as soon as he has found the right niche in fully using the advantage of what the boat can offer.
Obviously John has made three basic decisions about the Goldenrod:
1. The Goldenrod needs a concept/idea that makes the boat pay for itself.
2. The boat can't stay floating directly on the river, because it is to expensive to maintain it this way.
3. The Goldenrod can't work on her own, but needs something more around her.
So, now he is looking for an idea what exactly to do with the boat that is working with the three points above. Obviously he is very open to ideas, even thinking of weird things like making it a wedding chapel. And of course John is also looking for a location that would fit best to the upcoming new idea for the boat. Most likely this won't be St. Louis or St. Charles.
My feeling after this long meeting with John and touring the Goldenrod in St. Louis is that the boat is in really good hands, even though I'm sure that for many of us his way of thinking about the boat simply as a very unique piece of real estate is not easy to get used to. But if someone has a good idea how to make money with this wonderful old showboat, this would definitely help giving the Goldenrod a new, bright future somewhere at or near the river.
Here are some pictures from the boat as it is today. The most interesting part was seeing the old wooden hull. As you see on the pictures, the old hull is in very bad shape - fortunately it is not needed for keeping the boat afloat, as there is a steel hull around it, built around the old woddenhull in 1974. Nevertheless, adding the steel hull obiously was was not done very well what you can recognize by looking at the terrible deformation of the decks that can be seen on the pictures from outside. Also John Schwarz told us that the electric installations and the plumbing and sprinkler system is in extremely bad shape, as are parts of the boats wood.
Clearly there will be major costs to restore the boat, so the boat definitely need a concept for usage that makes money. Especially when you look at the amount of money the city of St. Charles obviously already had invested in the boat (about 4 Million $) and you have no idea where this money went to when are looking at the boat right now. This shows how expensive any restoration will be and how important a money making concept for the Goldenrod is.
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