Las Vegas

Largest Ferris wheel in world nears completion

 
 
The outer wheel of the 55-story High Roller Ferris wheel - shown here under construction July 30 -  is scheduled to be hoisted into place Monday in Las Vegas.
The outer wheel of the 55-story High Roller Ferris wheel - shown here under construction July 30 - is scheduled to be hoisted into place Monday in Las Vegas.
Jeff Scheid / AP

Associated Press

The madcap carnival on the Las Vegas Strip is getting another over-the-top addition: the world’s largest Ferris wheel.

The outer wheel of the 55-story High Roller ride is scheduled to be hoisted into place Tuesday (it was originally scheduled Monday). The gargantuan project is now visible from all over the city, including the airport. Early next year, it will be outfitted with 1,500 LED lights, and start its slow spin.

“It’s going to be an icon,” said David Codiga, project director. “It’s going to be a part of your visit to Las Vegas if you ride it or not. It’s more or less impossible not to see it if you come here.”

Caesars Entertainment Corp., which owns more casinos than any other U.S. gambling company, is building the ride as part of its $550 million Linq development, a new outdoor plaza across the street from Caesars Palace.

The walking mall, sandwiched between the Flamingo and Harrah’s hotel-casino, is expected to open this winter. It’s designed to lure Gen Xers and millennials, the demographic groups Caesars believes will contribute a majority of Sin City tourist dollars by 2015.

City after city has jumped to put a new spin on the classic carnival attraction over the past decade.

The High Roller will be 100 feet taller than the London Eye, which opened in 2000, 30 feet taller than China’s Star of Nanchang, which opened in 2006, and 9 feet taller than the Singapore Flyer, which opened in 2008.

These giant urban Ferris wheels typically transport riders in large, fixed capsules instead of the smaller, teetering baskets most people remember from childhood.

High Roller riders will have to take a break from gambling and smoking when they enter one of the 28 glass capsules attached to the gargantuan wheel, Codiga said, but they will be able to take in the marquee-lit panoramic views with a drink in hand.

The wheel, which has been under construction since 2011, is taller than the Bellagio hotel-casino but still dwarfed by the Stratosphere observation tower, which rises more than 1,000 feet. It will carry 3.5 million pounds of steel – the equivalent of about 200 Hummers – and will take 30 minutes to make one revolution.

And, because this is Las Vegas where overstimulation is the sales pitch, it will feature audiovisual shows in each 40-person pod designed to complement the views.

Codiga, who previously worked for the theme park company Universal Studios, said he doesn’t want visitors to get bored as the ride ascends and descends.

Tickets will be comparable to the London ride, which costs about $30, according to Caesars spokeswoman Christina Karas. She declined to say to how much it cost to build the ride.

The High Roller is not the only big wheel jostling for a place among the volcanoes and dancing fountains of the tourist corridor.

A rival company is building SkyVue, a 500-foot observation wheel across from Mandalay Bay at the southern end of the Strip that will feature video screens broadcasting ads. That project is expected to open in mid-2015, according to developer David Gaffin.

Last spring, a group of developers revealed plans for a third wheel – the London Thrill – near the CityCenter complex in the middle of the Strip.

The High Roller will also likely have to surrender its tallest in the world title before long. Another monster wheel is looming in New York City, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans last year for a 625-foot ride on Staten Island’s waterfront.

Other wheels may grow taller, Codiga said, “but the High Roller will allow you to float over Las Vegas.”

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK



  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category