Local officials in New York City are aiming big for the ”Big Apple.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last week plans for a new tourist attraction that would reinvent the northeastern side of Staten Island: the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, a 625-foot -tall structure destined to become one of the city’s landmark attractions.
Tentatively dubbed the “New York Wheel,” the historic project was proposed following the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s (NYCEDC) request for bids that would boost economic development in the Staten Island waterfront area. The giant structure will be developed by a joint venture between the New York Wheel LLC and local development company BFC Partners and is expected to have a hugely positive impact on the city overall by creating 1,200 construction jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs, while also generating around $500 million in private investment.
The $230 million investment will anchor a retail complex with 100 retail stores, a theater, a 200-room hotel, restaurants and various recreational areas. As the project will also seek Platinum LEED Certification, a large terminal building will feature various exhibitions about New York City history, alternative energy and environmental sustainability.
The wheel itself will have 36 capsules, each one able to carry up to 40 people—or 1,440 passengers per cycle—that will offer incomparable views of Lower and Midtown Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor for the duration of each 38-minute revolution.
Construction at the site is scheduled to begin in early 2014, with a grand opening event tentatively set for early 2016. According to the New York Post, the projected wheel will be 84 feet taller than the Singapore Flyer, which was launched in 2008 and currently holds the record for the world’s tallest Ferris wheel.
The wheel will stand near the Richmond County Bank Ballpark and Staten Island Ferry Terminal and will stay open every day of the year except during severe weather conditions.
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