Today, Congressman Michael G. Grimm (R,C-S.I./Brooklyn) joined NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in announcing his support for the construction of the world's largest observation wheel within his district on the North Shore of Staten Island. The observation wheel, tentatively called the "New York Wheel," will be constructed along with new retail spaces and hotel sites adjacent to it. The project is expected to bring thousands of construction and permanent jobs to Staten Island, increase tourism given its location near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, as well as provide a boost to the local economy.
"An observation wheel on Staten Island's North Shore will give New Yorkers and tourists alike the opportunity to share the spectacular view of Manhattan's skyline that Staten Islanders have enjoyed for decades," said Rep. Grimm. "I welcome this announcement that will bring thousands of well-paying construction and permanent jobs, business investment, and tourism to the under-developed St. George waterfront. This is the exact kind of private investment we need to spark our local economy, create jobs, and make Staten Island a destination site for all to enjoy this new iconic structure as well as the many unique cultural experiences our borough has to offer."
The New York Wheel is part of a greater plan for the development of Staten Island's underdeveloped St. George waterfront area. BFC Partners plans to construct a 300,000 square foot retail complex featuring 50-75 designer outlets and a 120,000 square foot hotel on the site to the south of the ballpark. Together the projects will generate a $480 million private investment, and create over 1,200 construction jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs.
The Wheel will be built in St. George just north of the Richmond County Bank Ballpark, which is home to the Staten Island Yankees. The "New York Wheel" will be the world's tallest, reaching the height of 625 feet - 85 feet higher than the Singapore Flyer, currently the world's tallest. It will be comprised of thirty-six capsules, each able to carry up to 40 passengers with a max capacity of 1,440 people per ride. It anticipates welcoming as many as 30,000 riders per day during peak season and an estimated 4.5 million visitors per year.
The New York Wheel will be open 7 days a week, 365 days per year (except on severe weather days and required maintenance days) from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the fall, winter and spring. Rides will last 38 minutes. In the summer, and on special occasions, the Wheel will stay open for longer hours. It is expended to begin construction in early 2014, with the goal of hosting a grand opening on December 31, 2015. The Wheel's designer and manufacturer will be Starneth, the engineering company that built the London Eye. The Wheel will strive for Platinum LEED certification and it is expected to be powered by clean energy.