Construction begins on Seattle waterfront Ferris wheel

Construction begins on Seattle waterfront Ferris wheel

Credit: KING / Courtesy Hal Griffith & Associates

Construction begins on Seattle waterfront Ferris wheel

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by ALLEN SCHAUFFLER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 3, 2012 at 6:15 AM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 4 at 9:08 AM

Seattle's skyline will soon have a new landmark.

Work began Tuesday morning on the project to build a 175-foot Ferris wheel at the end of Pier 57.

Hall Griffith says he’s been trying to get this done for 30 years. And now he’s seriously close. The first cement was poured Tuesday for the foundation that will support a huge wheel.

“The Seattle Great Whee,” Griffith says with a noticeable twinkle in his eye. “It should help the waterfront while the viaduct is coming down.”

It will stand 175 feet high above the pier and will feature 42 Euro-designed gondolas (with heating and air conditioning, of course) one of which will have a see-through floor. The wheel will extend about 40 feet out from the pier, so at the westernmost part of the ride you’ll be hovering directly over over Elliott Bay.

Griffith says the price-per-ride hasn’t been determined yet but he’s hoping to keep it reasonable, adults paying $12 to $13; kids  $7 or $8.

And the price tag for bringing this new waterside attraction to Seattle? Add up all the Dutch and German and Swiss hardware, the plain old American steel legs and struts, the cement and pilings and of course the labor costs of 6-day-a-week, twelve-hours-a-day construction work, and you get ... well Griffith isn’t exactly saying.

“Our initial projections were for $13 million, but we’ve gone way past that,” he said, still with that twinkle in his eye.

The Seattle Great Wheel should be spinning on Pier 57 by this June.  

Developers are banking that the wheel will become a major attraction and money maker on the waterfront.

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