New York Wheel

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New York Wheel
NY Big Wheel site 2018-06-22.jpg
Site of the New York Wheel, seen in June 2018
General information
StatusProposed
TypeFerris wheel
LocationStaten Island, New York City
Coordinates40°38′49.2″N 74°4′41.9″W / 40.647000°N 74.078306°W / 40.647000; -74.078306
Cost2012 estimate: $230 million[1]
2013 estimate: $330 million[2]
2014 estimate: $400 million[3]
2016 estimate: $590 million[4]
2018 estimate: $900 million[5]
Height630 ft (192.0 m)
Design and construction
ArchitectMammoet-Starneth LLC
DeveloperNew York Wheel LLC
Main contractorMammoet-Starneth LLC
Other information
Seating capacity1,440

The New York Wheel is a proposed 630-foot (190 m) Ferris wheel to be located at St. George in Staten Island, New York City, next to the proposed Empire Outlets retail complex.

The project was announced in 2012 as part of an initiative to make St. George into a tourist attraction. It was canceled by investors in September 2018 due in large part to lack of support from the New York City government, as well as a lack of funding. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio refused to endorse bonds citing it as too risky, and a speculative project which was supposed to be entirely privately funded.

Proposals to build a smaller New York Wheel were being discussed in May 2019.

Planning[edit]

Announcement[edit]

In October 2008, developer Meir Laufer rode the London Eye and met with its lead engineer. He established a business relationship with them to bring a wheel to New York. On September 27, 2012, then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and then-New York Wheel CEO Richard Marin announced a deal to build the wheel at the St. George Waterfront District.[6]

Delays[edit]

Construction of the wheel was supposed to run from early 2014 to 2015.[1][7] It was pushed back several times. In April 2013, it was reported to be July 4, 2016.[8][9] On June 12, 2013, construction was approved by Staten Island Community Board 1,[10][11] and on October 30 it was also approved by New York City Council, with construction to start in early 2014[12] and a grand opening planned for 2016,[13] but as of October 2014, construction was planned to start in early 2015 with an opening date for early 2017.[12] On December 11, 2014, state economic development officials excluded the proposal from a list of 824 projects selected for state funding under a regional economic development program, saying it would not provide the overall economic benefit needed to qualify, however a spokesman for the project said it would continue to move forward.[2] By August 2016, the Ferris wheel was estimated to open in early 2018,[14][15][16] and by March, the proposed completion date was late 2019.[17]

In January 2016, The Real Deal, citing mounting lawsuits by infighting members, ran an article skeptical about the project: "Is the New York Wheel spinning out of control?"[18] In July 2017, the design and construction teams were fired[19][20] and construction was postponed indefinitely.[21] The following month, New York Wheel LLC announced that it planned to engage American Bridge Company as the new contractor.[22]

Instead, the developers filed for bankruptcy in Delaware in December 2017.[23] As part of the bankruptcy agreement, developer New York Wheel LLC and contractor Mammoet-Starneth agreed to find funding by September 5, 2018, with the proviso that the project would be canceled if funding was not found before that date.[24]

Cancellation[edit]

In May 2018, the developers of the New York Wheel were given a last chance to obtain funding for the project. Per a ruling in Delaware bankruptcy court, the developers had 120 days, or until September 5, to find funding.[25] However, on September 7, 2018, it was announced that the New York Wheel would not receive $140 million in city funding.[26][27] The delays caused concern among EB-5 visa investors, who would lose their visas if the project was not constructed.[28][27] An amendment to the bankruptcy court's ruling gave the developers a final 120-day extension to look for funding. If the developers did not get funding by January 2019, the project would be canceled and no further funding extensions would be given.[29] At the time, the developers were spending $400,000 a month to store the parts for the New York Wheel.[30]

New York Wheel parking garage as of June 2018

On September 21, 2018, mayor Bill de Blasio said that the now-$900-million project would not receive a bailout from the city because it was too risky to support the project with bonds. As such, the city would not support tax free status for a $380 million bond sale to complete the project.[5][31] Investors refused to proceed with construction without city support, and stated that it would allow the parts for the Ferris wheel to be auctioned off if the city did not provide funding.[32] Subsequently, investors decided to cancel the project.[33] At this point, investors had spent $450 million on the project.[5] The official announcement of the project's cancellation was made the following month.[34]

However, the developers never terminated their lease with the city, which was still ongoing through November 2021. According to the lease agreement, the developers were to pay the city annually $1 million in rent, plus interest. though these would be deferred. By December 2018, the deferred payment amounted to $2.3 million.[35] In May 2019, it was announced that the developers were seeking new investors for a smaller wheel on the site, and that the NYCEDC was in talks with potential investors.[36][37][38] In August, the Staten Island Advance reported that Wheel investors and EB-5 visa investors were "actively pursuing a smaller project more like the London Eye."[39]

Design and construction[edit]

The designated designer and manufacturer was Mammoet-Starneth LLC, which had team members who worked on the London Eye. The New York Wheel was to have 36 passenger capsules (which were to be built by the Dutch company VDL Groep[40]), each carrying up to 40 passengers, and a total maximum capacity of 1,440 people per ride. Bloomberg's office has expected up to 30,000 passengers per day and about 4.5 million per year.[7]

The wheel was expected to create 400 construction jobs and 700 full-time jobs.[2] Four large pedestals for the wheel arrived on site in November 2016.[41] Legs for the wheel arrived in spring 2018.[42] Following the announcement of the Wheel's cancellation in late 2018, the completed portions of the wheel (namely its legs, drive towers, and capsules) were auctioned in January 2019.[43][36]

Parking garage[edit]

The New York Wheel public parking garage opened on August 12, 2016. Planned to accommodate commuters using the Staten Island Ferry, this waterfront garage originally accommodated 820 vehicles, expanding to 950 spaces upon completion of construction.[44]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "World's tallest observation wheel to tower over New York". Traveller. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c GLENN BLAIN (December 12, 2013). "Bloomberg's S.I. Ferris wheel plan drops off economic plan". NY Daily News. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Exclusive video: First parts of 'New York Wheel' arrive on Staten Island". June 26, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Grant, Peter (September 21, 2018). "Effort to Bring Observation Wheel to New York Nears Futility". WSJ. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  6. ^ Eliot Brown (June 26, 2012). "Ferris Wheel Eyed for Ferry Terminal". WSJ. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Goldman, Henry. "World's Biggest Ferris Wheel Will Anchor Staten Island Complex". Bloomberg. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  8. ^ "Wheeler-dealer SI Ferris lawsuit". New York Post. April 3, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  9. ^ "Staten Island outlet mall planned near New York Wheel to include Nike, Adidas, Coach". SILive.com. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  10. ^ "Staten Island Ferris wheel approved by community board". WABC TV. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  11. ^ Massive Ferris wheel gets board approval by Casey Tolan, NY Daily News, Wednesday, June 12, 2013
  12. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 21, 2014. Retrieved May 21, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Giant Staten Island Ferris wheel approved by city council". WABC TV. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  14. ^ "Staten Island's observation wheel pushes opening date to 2018". Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  15. ^ "New York Wheel Project on Staten Island Also Bringing New Activity to Brooklyn Waterfront". Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  16. ^ Tracey Porpora (August 15, 2016). "First ride on New York Wheel pushed back to April 2018". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  17. ^ "If the shoe fits: Crocs takes space at Staten Island discount mall". Crain's New York Business. March 21, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  18. ^ Clarke, Katherine. "Is the New York Wheel spinning out of control?". The Real Deal New York. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  19. ^ "Wheel of misfortune: New York Wheel project now "indefinitely delayed"". The Real Deal New York. July 13, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  20. ^ Wachs, Audrey (May 22, 2018). "Construction on Staten Island's giant Ferris wheel may finally begin again". Archpaper.com. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  21. ^ Porpora, Tracey (July 13, 2017). "NY Wheel project indefinitely delayed after firing contractor". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  22. ^ "Exclusive: NY Wheel to hire Las Vegas High Roller contractor". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  23. ^ "Scurria's Take: New York Wheel Contractor Lands in Bankruptcy". Wall Street Journal. December 13, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  24. ^ "Deal could restart stalled NYC Ferris wheel tourism project". NY Daily News. August 30, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  25. ^ Porpora, Tracey (May 8, 2018). "Exclusive: NY Wheel strikes major deal; will it save the project?". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  26. ^ Walker, Ameena (September 7, 2018). "Staten Island's New York Wheel won't get city funding". Curbed NY. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  27. ^ a b "Denial of NY Wheel funding has Chinese investors' families reeling". Spectrum News NY1 | New York City. September 8, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  28. ^ Small, Eddie (July 21, 2017). "New York Wheel delays could spell disaster for project's EB-5 investors". The Real Deal New York. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  29. ^ Porpora, Tracey (September 8, 2018). "Embattled NY Wheel: Court motion outlines last shot at mediation". Staten Island Advance. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  30. ^ Porpora, Tracey (April 7, 2018). "NY Wheel to continue to pay $495K for storage of wheel parts". SILive.com. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  31. ^ "De Blasio: No bailout for Staten Island Ferris wheel project". New York Post. September 22, 2018. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  32. ^ Porpora, Tracey (September 21, 2018). "NY Wheel: Without the city, 'it's not going to happen'". SILive.com. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  33. ^ "Investors scrap Staten Island's giant Ferris wheel". ABC7 New York. September 21, 2018. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  34. ^ "A 630-Foot Ferris Wheel Meant to Boost Staten Island's Image Is No More". The New York Times. October 23, 2018. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  35. ^ Porpora, Tracey (December 14, 2018). "Exclusive: NY Wheel must pay to restore site, according to lease". silive.com. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  36. ^ a b Porpora, Tracey (May 29, 2019). "Sources: Investors trying to partner with large corporation to build smaller NY Wheel". silive.com. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  37. ^ "NY1 Exclusive: NY Wheel Could be Built in Scaled-Down Form". www.ny1.com. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  38. ^ Plitt, Amy (May 29, 2019). "Staten Island's doomed Ferris wheel could be revived in a smaller form". Curbed NY. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  39. ^ Porpora, Tracey (July 1, 2019). "Sources: Smaller NY Wheel plan 'more than just talk'". silive.com. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  40. ^ "VDL - News_VDL scores mega order New York Wheel". Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  41. ^ "Exclusive video: First parts of 'New York Wheel' arrive on Staten Island". ABC7 New York. June 26, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  42. ^ https://untappedcities.com/2016/10/05/legs-for-the-new-york-wheel-on-staten-island-worlds-tallest-arrive-in-brooklyn/
  43. ^ Porpora, Tracey (December 3, 2018). "Auction date for New York Wheel parts has been set". silive.com. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  44. ^ "New York Wheel parking garage opening is delayed". Retrieved August 16, 2016.

External links[edit]