Last week, the City Council Land Use Committee unanimously voted to approve modifications to the New York Wheel. Plans are now up to code, and the Wheel and its surrounding services are on track for a 2017 opening.
Originally approved in 2013, construction on the 630-foot ferris wheel began in May of this year. The project planners say the wheel will transform the Staten Island community, attracting tourists and contributing significantly to the local economy.
The City Council’s approved changes to the development include adding a story to the enclosed parking garage, shrinking the size of the Terminal Building by a quarter and relocating the public playground.
These changes were in response to new City regulations for areas with unreliably malleable soil due to a seismic condition. To accommodate these blueprint adjustments, a reflection pool at the base of the wheel, wind turbines and solar panels have been removed from the plans. An al fresco beer garden replaces earlier plans for a white tablecloth restaurant.
The committee’s modification hearings also brought about a new commitment to regulated hiring practices. New York Wheel LLC originally set a goal of hiring 25 percent locally and 25 percent MWBE (Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise). Now, Rich Marin, president and CEO of New York Wheel LLC, has agreed to support a task force ensuring that local residents have adequate employment opportunity.
Located in the neighborhood of St. George on the northeastern tip of Staten Island, The New York Wheel is set to become a major landmark attraction in the city. The structure will be feature 36 pods, each with a capacity of 40 people.
Its 38-minute rides could serve over 3.5 million visitors per year. Equipped with $7 million of LED lighting, the wheel will make a bright impact on the New York City skyline.
The development will also encompass five acres of public green space and enough room to accommodate events of up to 5,000 people. Developers expect to see concerts, festivals, and other large events happening frequently at the site.