REAL ESTATE

Staten Island Ferris Wheel may be back on track

BY Al Urbanski

Millions of passengers disembark each year at the Staten Island Ferry terminal in New York’s least populous borough, but developers of a new outlet center set to open there this fall originally planned that a 630-ft.-high observation wheel would beckon customers from afar. That was until cost overruns and disputes among investors put the brakes on the New York Wheel.

Now it looks like the Wheel may turn, after all. According to a report in the Daily Freeman, New York Wheel LLC has reached an agreement with contractor Mammoet-Starneth to resolve some of their legal issues. The agreement gives New York Wheel until September to restart the project or cancel it.

Joseph Ferrara, whose Staten Island-based BFC partners is behind the 100-store Empire Outlets nearing completion in the borough’s St. George neighborhood, envisioned the wheel as a giant, neon billboard for his project.

“The Wheel will be the world’s largest LED canvas, and every night it will put on an orchestrated light show,” Ferrara told Chain Store Age last year.

Inspired by the 443-ft.-tall London Eye, which has become a landmark for that city, New York Wheel LLC set out to place the world’s biggest observation wheel in Staten Island. It has since been topped by the 689-foot Dubai Eye, now under construction in the United Arab Emirates.

Should the New York Wheel be completed, then, it will no longer be the largest light show, but at least Ferrara and BFC have hopes the show will go on.

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