500-foot wheel on Vegas Strip gets OK from FAA
LAS VEGAS—A developer's plan to put a 500-foot observation wheel attraction on the Las Vegas Strip won't hamper operations at nearby McCarran International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
The agency's obstruction evaluation group told developer Howard Bulloch of Compass Investments that it expected the rotating wheel with 40 passenger gondolas won't affect aircraft or airport facilities.
The wheel will be about as tall as two nearby casinos, and will be more than a half-mile from an airport runway, the FAA said in its note.
Bulloch introduced the plans for the Skyvue Las Vegas Super Wheel on Monday during a press conference at the site across Las Vegas Boulevard from the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino.
The Ferris-style wheel is part of a $100 million privately funded development that is scheduled to open in 2013. Plans also include a roller coaster, retail stores and restaurants.
The FAA, which doesn't approve or deny plans itself but instead makes recommendations based on its needs, said its blessing comes with conditions that the wheel be properly lit and that if developers change their plans, they tell the agency within five days after construction reaches its highest point.
A rendering of the wheel shows its rotation perpendicular to the Strip, meaning views of the city's famed casino row would be unobstructed. The gondolas would hold up to 25 passengers each and be available to be rented out for private parties with catering and drinks, officials said.
Another tall observation wheel is planned farther north on the Strip, as part of a project linking several Caesars Entertainment Corp. casinos on the Strip's east side.
Developers of the Skyvue project cited the London Eye as one example of why the similar project might be successful in Sin City. The wheel in London attracts 3.5 million visitors per year, they said.
Oskar Garcia can be reached at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia.