New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday announced plans to build the world's biggest ferris wheel on Staten Island borough, adjacent to the ferry terminal and minor-league ballpark.
At a press conference on the Staten Island waterfront, Bloomberg, flanked by politicians and developers, also announced plans for a nearby designer outlet complex and hotel.
Together, he said, the projects would consume 14 acres and generate $480 million in private investment. New York Wheel LLC is expected to invest roughly $250 million for the ferris wheel project. BFC Partners will construct the retail complex, known as Harbor Commons.
At 625 feet, said Bloomberg, the ferris wheel will exceed the height of the Singapore Flyer and London Eye structures.
"We know this area is full of potential for economic growth," said Bloomberg. The project needs City Council approval.
The two developments are steps from the ferry terminal in the St. George neighborhood, and are now used as parking for the terminal and the Richmond County Bank Ballpark, home to the New York Yankees' Class A, New York-Penn League affiliate.
New York Wheel and BFC Partners of Brooklyn, N.Y., will each enter into 99-year leases, Bloomberg said. Combined, the two will pay the city $2.5 million in annual rent, plus additional participation rents once the parties reach certain ridership and gross revenue milestones.
According to the mayor, the developers will also contribute $300,000 annually to area-wide maintenance, including upkeep to the waterfront esplanade.
The ferris wheel ride would last 38 minutes and the facility would be open year-round.
Additionally, the New York City Economic Development Commission announced that in the coming weeks, it will issue a request for proposals seeking the development of the first city-sponsored business incubator on Staten Island.