Hold on to your hats, folks! After countless delays, the New York Wheel is finally back on track. Architizer reports that workers are gearing up to break ground tomorrow, April 16th, on what is slated to become the world’s tallest observation wheel. Providing panoramic views of New York Harbor and the cityscape beyond, the 630-foot wheel located at the tip of St. George on northern Staten Island is primed to become one of the most epic ways to experience New York City.
The wheel project was originally masterminded in 2013 by the Bloomberg Administration and approved by the city council that same year, but hit a series of roadblocks stemming from political head-butting to the $500 million construction bill. However, in July of last year, the wheel got an unlikely cash injection of $150 million from a group of 300 Chinese investors through a federal program that allows foreigners and their families to obtain temporary visas when they invest at least $500,000 in U.S. job creation, propelling it forward once again.
The wheel is being designed by a team of ferris wheel experts and engineers that includes the Dutch firm Starneth, B.V., creators of the new millennium’s London Eye and the forthcoming Dubai wheel, and Perkins Eastman/EEK Architects, who will handle wheel-anchoring and visitor access.
The wheel itself will accommodate an impressive 1,440 people per ride, carrying an estimated 3.5 million visitors annually. Each orbit on the wheel lasts a considerable 38-minutes (for an expected $35 admission), its highest point reaching about 60 stories. Currently, the design stands to be the world’s tallest, however, Dubai is currently woking on a 690-foot wheel of their own.
As part of the experience, there will also be an entertainment/retail complex at the base, which will include a floating swimming complex, a 125,000-square-foot Terminal Building that will offer shopping, a restaurant, 4-D theater, gardens, a playground and exhibition space featuring New York City history.
If all goes without a hitch, the wheel will open to the public in the second quarter of 2017.
[New York Wheel official site]
Images courtesy of Perkins Eastman Architects
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