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Staten Island’s stalled observation wheel could be resuscitated

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The developer and the former contractor have come to an agreement after months of fighting

Staten Island’s 630-foot observation wheel is close to getting back on track, the Staten Island Advance has learned. The developers and the contractor on the project have been duking it out in court over the past several months, but it seems like the two warring sides have finally come to an agreement. A judge has yet to sign the agreement, according to the Advance, but is expected to do so next week.

Before we get into what this means for the project, let’s journey back real quick to see what went wrong. In May last year, a pay dispute between the developer, New York Wheel LLC, and the contractor, Mammoet-Starneth, led the latter to walk off the site, putting a temporary halt to the project. The developer in turn accused the contractor of not meeting design or construction deadlines, and eventually fired the firm.

Things became more complicated in December last year when Mammoet-Starneth filed for bankruptcy, and pushed to auction off the $9 million wheels of the observation wheel in order to pay off some its costs. Since then, the two sides have been locked in a court battle, though things may finally be looking up.

As part of the agreement reached by the two sides, the developer has 120 days to come up with the adequate funds to move forward with the project, and to hire a new contractor. The developer also has the option of terminating the deal if it’s not able to come up with the financing in the stipulated timeframe. In August last year, the developer said it was in advanced negotiations to lock in a new contractor, but it’s not yet clear if that same contractor will come on board at this time.

In a statement issued to the Advance, a representative for New York Wheel LLC expressed optimism and said, “this settlement will allow New York Wheel the opportunity to finalize its financing arrangements and re-commence the construction and completion of the Wheel.”