Myrtle Beach SkyWheel
|Status||Complete and operational|
|Location||Myrtle Beach, SC Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade|
|Inaugurated||May 20, 2011|
|Height||187 feet (57 m)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Ronald Bussink Professional Rides|
When it opened on May 20th, 2011 it was the second-tallest extant Ferris wheel in North America, after the 212-foot (64.6 m) Texas Star in Dallas, and the tallest wheel in the United States east of the Mississippi River.
SkyWheel is a Ronald Bussink Professional Rides designed R60 Giant Wheel, and was manufactured by Chance Morgan. It is similar in design to the Niagara SkyWheel on Canada's side of Niagara Falls, and the Seattle Great Wheel, both of which are 175 feet (53.3 m) tall. Skywheel has "42 glass-enclosed, temperature controlled gondolas" described as "ballooned-out square", each with seating for six passengers. Unrelated people are not required to sit together. The wheel operates year-round. The gondolas must be removed if high winds are predicted, a process that takes eight to ten hours. City manager Tom Leath said, "It's big enough to be an iconic feature for the city."
St. Louis-based developer Koch Development Company and Pacific Development had been looking for a site for a Ferris wheel; they chose Myrtle Beach because of its new boardwalk, which has its northern end near the site, next to Plyler Park. Architect James Hubbard, AIA a Principal with Pegram Associates, Inc. designed the site, which includes a 5,400-square-foot (500 m2) building with a restaurant, gift shop and the ticket booth. The Golden Villas motel was torn down and an alley was moved.
The September 8, 2010 meeting of the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation included a discussion of SkyWheel. TLC planned a show about the wheel's construction, and a camera was positioned above the site at the Slingshot reverse bungee attraction across Ocean Boulevard. Al Mers, a Pacific Development partner, said later in the month that the steel frame is being built outside St. Louis, while the gondolas are being made in Switzerland. The wheel will go on a deck 20 feet (6.1 m) above sea level to protect it from possible hurricane storm surge. Construction of the building started in December, while the wheel's frame began work on February 23. Land Shark Bar & Grill opened the same day as SkyWheel, the third restaurant in the city connected with Jimmy Buffett. The others are Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Broadway at the Beach and Cheeseburger in Paradise on the city's north end.
In 2012, Officialbestof.com named SkyWheel "Best Scenic Experience in South Carolina".
- http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43112192/ns/travel-destination_travel/t/myrtle-beach-gets-super-tall-skywheel Myrtle Beach gets super-tall SkyWheel
- Bryant, Dawn (2011-05-20). "SkyWheel, LandShark eatery debuted today in Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. Retrieved 2011-05-20.
- Myrtle Beach SkyWheel Press and News Archived 2012-01-20 at the Wayback Machine.
- Anderson, Lorena (2010-06-15). "Ferris wheel may roll to Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
- Anderson, Lorena (2010-09-16). "Hotel makes way for Ferris wheel in Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Retrieved 2010-09-16.
- Salinger, Adva (2011-08-23). "Hurricane Irene path veers east, but Myrtle Beach area not out of woods". The Sun News. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
- Anderson, Lorena (2010-09-09). "Myrtle Beach boardwalk gets visitors' approval". The Sun News. Retrieved 2010-09-09.
- Bryant, Dawn (2011-02-24). "One giant ride, going up in Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
- Bryant, Dawn (2010-11-30). "Construction under way for SkyWheel in Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- Bryant, Dawn (2010-12-09). "Jimmy Buffett eatery to land in Myrtle Beach". The Sun News. Archived from the original on 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- Bryant, Dawn (2012-03-20). "Myrtle Beach attraction gets nod from website". The Sun News. Retrieved 2012-03-22.