Delta Queen will stay at Chattanooga

December 11th, 2012

It has been a rumor for quite a while and now it’s official: The Delta Queen will not be sold to New Smyrna Beach, Florida, as a permanentely moored hotel ship. Local investor Wayne Heller has pulled out of negotiations to buy the historic paddlewheeler for this purpose after he was not able to get the final okay for this project from the City of New Smyrna Beach.

Wayne Heller said, the city „missed a tremendous opportunity“ while steamboat activists willing to save the Delta Queen in her original form as an operation riverboat are relieved that the deal fell through. Heller’s plans where to modify the Delta Queen in a way that made it almost impossible to bring the Delta Queen back as a cruise ship any time later. Also there was lots of concern regarding the potential future location of the Delta Queen in a salt water environment and very much exposed to hurricanes.

New Smyrna City Manager Pam Brangccio told the Daytona Beach New-Journal she thinks Heller bailing out oft he Delta Queen deal doesn’t have much to do with the city but said „he’s not buying the boat because oft he cost involved with renovating the boat. […] It was a business decision on his part to not purchase the boat.“

The Delta Queen will now stay at Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she’s been since 2009, being operated as a hotel, lounge and restaurant while being maintained and kept in a fully operational status with a lot of help from volunteers and former employees oft he Delta Queen Steamboat Company respectively Majestic America Line.

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