Staten Island is about get itself a major tourist attraction—and it isn't another ferry. As previously hinted, the borough is now set to get The New York Wheel, the world's largest Ferris Wheel, Mayor Bloomberg will announce today. Expect great views when the wheel starts spinning...in 2015.
As the Staten Island Advance reports, the $230 million project will be the heart of a retail and hotel complex the city wants to put beside the Staten Island Yankees ballpark. And at 625 feet tall, the New York Wheel will be the tallest wheel going. Taller than the London Eye, the "High Roller" planned for the Las Vegas Strip and the Singapore Flyer—currently the world's tallest such wheel.
Developers hope to start construction on the project, which is very close to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, in early 2014 and expect it to carry 4.5 million riders a year. In a statement Mayor Bloomberg called the plan "a once-in-a-generation opportunity for economic development" and promised it to be "an attraction unlike any other in New York City -- even unlike any other on the planet."
In addition to the Wheel the mayor's office today is expected to announce plans by BFC Partners to construct Harbor Commons, "a 420,000-square-foot retail complex featuring 50 to 75 designer outlet stores and a 120,000-square-foot hotel to the south of the ballpark."
If it works, it will be "a game-changer for Staten Island," Borough President James P. Molinaro said. "We've gone from having the world's biggest dump to having the world's biggest wheel."