If you liked the London Eye, you'll soon have a reason to take the ferry over to New York City's Staten Island: The New York Wheel is coming to the island's St. George waterfront, along with a retail and hotel complex with designer outlet shops that will pump nearly $500 million in private investment into the area and spur economic development, tourism and job growth into the future, the Staten Island Advance is reporting.
At 625 feet, the $230 million New York Wheel will surpass the height of the Singapore Flyer, currently the world's tallest observation wheel, and will also eclipse the London Eye and a "High Roller" wheel planned for the Las Vegas Strip.
The Wheel is expected to carry 4.5 million riders a year, and will be built just to the north of the ballpark, home to the minor-league Staten Island Yankees. It is expected to have 36 capsules, each able to carry up to 40 passengers with a maximum capacity of 1,440 people per ride, or 30,000 riders a day during peak season. Construction is expected to begin in early 2014, with the goal of hosting a grand opening by the end of 2015.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is set to announce that the wheel and an outlet mall will be built on 14 acres next to the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, transforming the North Shore waterfront. "Our administration has made major investments all along the North Shore of Staten Island, because we know this area is full of potential for economic growth," Bloomberg said. "But this newest plan is the most exciting of all - it's a once-in-a-generation opportunity for economic development."