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It's Official! Staten Island to Get World's Largest Ferris Wheel

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[Renderings via NYC Mayor's Office]

It happened?Staten Island is getting a 625-foot tall observation wheel. The mega project includes a 350,000-square-foot outlet mall and 200-room hotel designed by SHoP Architects, and it will be located on waterfront property in St. George next to the New York Yankees minor league baseball stadium. The wheel, which has been boringly named the New York Wheel, is estimated to cost $230 million, nearly half of the $500 million price tag expected for the whole project. Rich Marin, a former investment banker at Bear Stearns, is the CEO of New York Wheel, LLC, and BFC Partners will be constructing the hotel and retail complex.

The tourist ride will be taller than the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer, making it the highest in the world. Starneth, the same team that built the London Eye, is designing the wheel. It will have 36 capsules, each able to carry 40 passengers, which adds up to 1,440 people per ride. Rides would last 38 minutes, and the wheel would be operational 365 days a year, "weather permitting." For spring, fall, and winter, the ride would be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with longer hours in the summer. Officials estimate that the wheel will see 4.5 million riders every year, and construction could start as soon as 2014. They hope that it will be ready for a grand opening in 2015.

A 100,000-square-foot commercial building will sit beneath the wheel, and there will be a 950-space parking structure. The whole thing will be super eco-friendly?think green roofs, solar panels, and clean energy power?and it's aiming for LEED Platinum certification.

BFC Partners was tapped to build Harbor Commons, the 350,000-square-foot designer outlet mall and 120,000-square-foot hotel designed by SHoP Architects (arguably the busiest architecture firm in NYC). The mall will have approximately 100 shops and "a gourmet dining destination" with several restaurants. The hotel will have a 15,000-square-foot banquet space, and there will be a 1,250-space public underground parking facility. The whole thing will be topped by "a sweeping sustainable green roof," and there will be "expansive open corridors to the water." Construction should begin in winter 2014, and the project should open by 2016.

The EDC says that the whole project is expected to create 1,200 construction jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs, and it will generate nearly $100 million in net new tax revenue for the city over the next 30 years.
· Official press release [NYC Mayor's Office]
· The New York Wheel is Coming to Staten Island [SI Live]
· Breaking: New York Wheel to be built in Staten Island [Picking Your Seat]
· 600-Foot Ferris Wheel for the Staten Island Ferry Terminal? [Curbed]