The Great Wheel Orlando

Posted by Jeffrey G. Funk P.A. on Monday, September 10th, 2007 at 9:26pm.

The Great Wheel Corp. has purchased a piece of property near the Orange County Convention Center. This property, which sits on thirty-seven acres, was bought for thirty-eight million dollars.

UPDATE: Read our I-Drive 360 / Orlando Eye Blog Post

This purchase contributed to a three-way deal. The land was first sold to Shamanand “Sham” Maharaj’s Buena Vista Corp. by Westwood Boulevard Ltd. They then sold the property to Great Orlando Wheel.

Great Wheel purchased the property so they could build a rotating observation wheel. This wheel would be part of an International Drive resort complex, reports Orlando Business Journal. The wheel will have a 960-person capacity and these visitors will be taken on rides in pods that have been equipped with air conditioning. The company has similar plans for Beijing, Dubai, and Berlin.

The company also forecasts that the attraction will be open in the year 2009 and will feature a bridge over the Beachline Expressway that will be connected to the Orange County Convention Centre.

The attraction will cost somewhere in the area of forty to sixty million. The thirty-seven acres that it will sit on is actually two parcels of land located on Westwood Boulevard. The property has been estimated at approximately eleven million by Orange County.

Getting people to come visit the attraction is going to be made easier by the Venetian-themed hotel resort that Buena Vista Corp. currently has plans underway to build. Orlando has avoided running into issues with the Federal Aviation Administration by making the attraction just under four hundred feet, which also makes it the shortest of the planned buildings.

The people behind Great Wheel already have some experience with this sort of attraction, as they are also part of the team that comprises The London Eye, which is an attraction of the same sort. That observation platform stands at 429 feet tall and has approximately 3.5 million guests a year who pay approximately thirty dollars for one trip. That project had an estimated cost of 150 million. At this attraction, the pods move at approximately six-tenths mile per hour. Two parallel tracks run alongside each side of the rotating wheel and it is here that visitors can get onboard. There is no abrupt starting and stopping as the stations to board are coordinated with the wheel’s rotation.

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