New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg today unveiled plans to transform Staten Island’s waterfront by building the world’s tallest Ferris Wheel. At 625ft, the structure will be taller than the London Eye or the ‘High Roller’ wheel proposed for the Las Vegas Strip and is expected to carry 4.5 million riders a year.
Dubbed the New York Wheel, the attraction will anchor Harbor Commons, a 470,000 sq ft retail complex that will include approximately 100 designer outlet stores and a 200-room hotel. Designed by SHoP Architects for BFC Partners, Harbor Commons is expected to generate $480m of private investment and create over 1,200 construction jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs.
In a press conference held today, Mayor Bloomberg said: “Our Administration has made major investments all along the North Shore of Staten Island, because we know that this area is full of potential for growth. But the newest plan is the most exciting of all. The New York Wheel will be an attraction unlike any other in New York City - even unlike any other on the planet. It will offer unparalleled and breathtaking views, and is sure to become one of the premier attractions in New York City and the latest addition to our newly revitalized waterfront.”
The Wheel is expected to be open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Construction will begin in early 2014 with a grand opening planned for the end of 2015. It will be designed by Starenth, the team that built the London Eye. At its base will sit a 100,000 sq ft terminal building, which will include various commercial uses, such as retail, restaurant and theatre space, as well exhibitions about New York City history, alternative energy and environmental sustainability. The Wheel and terminal building will strive for Platinum LEED Certification.
Harbor Commons as envisioned by SHoP, will feature expansive open corridors to the water, contemporary materials reflective of the industrial waterfront, and a sweeping sustainable green roof visible from the Harbor. It will have celebratory vertical circulation elements such as grand staircases, glass elevators and streamlined escalators to guide shoppers as they move to and from the waterfront. Construction of it is expected to begin in the winter of 2014 with completion slated for 2016.