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The Las Vegas Strip Will Look Different In 2014 ~ Two New Observation Wheels Going Up

Updated on August 9, 2013

Other Famous Observation Wheels From Around The World

The world famous London Eye at twilight. So pretty!
The world famous London Eye at twilight. So pretty! | Source
The famous "London Eye" observation wheel in London. The new wheels being constructed on the strip in Las Vegas are similar.
The famous "London Eye" observation wheel in London. The new wheels being constructed on the strip in Las Vegas are similar. | Source
A closer look at the cabins on the London Eye wheel, the High Roller in Las Vegas will be similar.
A closer look at the cabins on the London Eye wheel, the High Roller in Las Vegas will be similar. | Source
The Southern Star Observation Wheel located in Harbour Town, Melbourne, Australia.
The Southern Star Observation Wheel located in Harbour Town, Melbourne, Australia. | Source

Imagine Riding High Above Las Vegas Viewing The Neon Skyline...

In the next year, the skyline near the Las Vegas strip will have a bit of a different look. Construction has begun on TWO new "Observation" wheels on the strip. With the creators of these two wheels preferring that they be called Observation Wheels instead of Ferris Wheels, these new wheels should be in place and operating by the middle of 2014. The High Roller wheel, the one located near the Flamingo Hotel, is slated to open in February 2014. Some of the shops and restaurants in the complex should open in December of 2013.

The excitement for the project is evident here in Las Vegas. These two new state-of-the-art wheels are expected to be an excellent addition to the already popular Las Vegas strip, and are expected to add thousands of jobs to the city's economy as well. The rides will feature air conditioned compartments, and the hope is that they will become especially attractive for wedding groups and others wishing to hold special events within their cabins overlooking the city of Las Vegas.

The High Roller

One observation wheel will be known as The High Roller, and it is being built near the Flamingo Hotel, virtually in the backyard of the Imperial Palace Hotel. The Imperial Palace is expected to get a new name once the wheel is completed. The creation of this entertainment complex is now being called "the Linq Project" and is expected to be a shopping, dining and entertainment complex along with the observation wheel. Nearly 75 percent of the retail space has already been rented out. When everything is complete, there should be about thirty five new retail businesses located there.

When the High Roller is finished, it will stand 107 feet taller than the famous "London Eye" observation wheel overlooking London. It will also stand 9 feet taller than the Singapore Flyer. Each compartment is expected to hold up to 40 people, allowing a total of over 1,100 people to be in the observation wheel at a single time.

There will be twenty-eight cabins total, and it will take about one half hour to make one revolution in the wheel, at a cost of $25 per person. The mid point of the wheel is expected to come to the top of the Flamingo Hotel. And this wheel is being made to stand up to at least fifty years of this incredible and often very harsh desert heat and wind, along with being able to withstand years of motion and bearing the weight of so many passengers.

Visitors to the High Roller Observation wheel will be able to bring in outside items like pulpits for weddings when they rent an entire gondola on the wheel, and it has been reported that people are already asking about weddings on the wheel. That would definitely be a unique place to get married, and what an awesome view of a very pretty skyline!

Just the construction of the wheel alone is creating about 3,000 new construction jobs, very good news for a city hit hard by the recent recession. Once the entertainment complex and observation wheel are completed, it is expected that another 1,500 permanent jobs will be created. The High Roller observation wheel and entertainment complex is being built at an estimated cost of $550 million.

The company behind the building of this complex is known as Arup Engineering. They are famous for working on such structures as the Singapore flyer, the Portland Aerial Tram and the Sydney Opera House.

Another Wheel Known As SkyVue

There has also been a ground-breaking on another observation wheel also on the Las Vegas strip. This one is known as SkyVue and will be located on the southern end of the strip near the Mandalay Bay Hotel. The concrete supports alone for this observation wheel will stand as high as the famous Tropicana Hotel, to give you an idea of the enormous size of this structure.

The SkyVue observation wheel is expected to have thirty-two gondolas that will be able to hold about twenty-five people each. The SkyVue will stand about 500 feet tall and comes with a construction price tag of $300 million. It is expected to open by December 31, 2013.

A Bit Of History Of The Ferris Wheel

The first Ferris Wheel was introduced in 1893 in Chicago, at the World's Columbian Exhibition. The idea behind the Ferris Wheel was that it would be an attraction that would be competitive with the world famous Eiffel Tower in Paris, which was built in 1889.

A man named George Ferris came up with the idea for the worlds first Ferris Wheel after seeing a Merry-Go-Round at a fair and seeing what a popular attraction it was. He thought that perhaps a vertical wheel attraction could become just as popular as a horizontal wheel, and the idea was born. Being a renowned bridge maker, he had a vast knowledge of the makings of such a structure, from the beams to the struts and supports. He knew how to bring the Ferris Wheel into reality.

Back in the day, the first Ferris Wheel cost only $380,000 to build. When compared with today's costs of $550 million and $300 million to build the two wheels on the Las Vegas strip, this could have been considered a "bargain." But back when it was built, it was an incredibly expensive proposition. The first Ferris Wheel soon generated double the amount it cost to build it in ride sales, and was considered to be a huge success.

The first Ferris Wheel measured 250 feet in diameter, and it contained thirty-six wooden cars. While George Ferris came up with the concept and the plans, the actual first Ferris Wheel was built by the Detroit Bridge And Iron Works. Once the wheel had been used in Chicago, it was later taken down and moved to St. Louis, Missouri for another exhibition in 1904.

Many people who attended the unveiling of the Ferris Wheel in Chicago in 1889 were left with fond memories of its unveiling. It is said that George Ferris and his wife were in attendance, and people that rode on the first Ferris Wheel were dressed especially for the occasion. Men wore suits and ladies donned ball gowns. There was champagne flowing and cigars for the men to help to celebrate its unveiling.

Many reporters were there that day to watch George Ferris and his wife christen the first Ferris Wheel, and it is said that after a brief speech by George Ferris, he and his wife boarded one of the gondolas and rode about five revolutions on the wheel. The unveiling was held on June 16th, 1893.

Shortly after this, the Ferris Wheel was to become America's famous contribution to the Worlds Fair. Today, the Ferris wheel is still a main staple of just about any fair found in the country, and has achieved worldwide popularity as well.

Is Two Observation Wheels Too Many?

There isn't a lot of concern here in Las Vegas about building two separate observation wheels a relatively short distance from one another. With so many visitors to the strip every year, both wheels are expected to do very well. Each will be just a little bit different, and of course due to their different locations they will offer vastly different and breathtaking views of this beautiful city.


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    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Me too, VegasVacation! It'll be a nice new addition to the strip! Thanks so much for commenting! :)

    • VegasVacation profile image

      VegasVacation 4 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Excited for this!

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks so much for commenting, Sheila! I will have to look next time we are down on the strip to see how the construction is going. A few months ago, they had some basic supports done, but I'm sure they've done more since then. Thanks so much for reading and for the shares, I appreciate that! :)

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I used to work for a company that is based out of Las Vegas. Hubby and I would get a free trip there once a year for "training" and the Christmas party. I always loved going to Vegas! The observation wheels sound like a real money maker for someone. I don't like heights, so I would not get on it, but I know hubby would love to. Interesting hub, I wonder how construction is going at this time? Voted up, interesting and sharing! :)

    • KathyH profile image

      KathyH 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      You're right, DF. Las Vegas is a great place for entertainment! :) We've found that we love the shows here especially. I know people like to gamble as well, but we usually stay away from gambling, so other forms of entertainment are really appreciated. :) Thanks so much for reading and commenting! :)

    • DFiduccia profile image

      DFiduccia 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      There’s no doubt that some people will question the need for the Observation Wheels. As a resident of Las Vegas, I see this as a positive sign of growth, and LV is really a playground for adults. These giant wheels will bring more tourism, thus more spending to boost the economy of this great city. Las Vegas is no longer just a place to gamble— it has everything that is possible in entertainment.