Designers halt work on Staten Island wheel project

It looks like plans for a giant Ferris wheel on Staten Island have ground to a halt.

Court papers reveal the designers, Mammoet-Starneth, left the job in May after a pay dispute with the developer. Now, plans for the New York Wheel are on hold.

The 630-foot-tall structure—slated to be the largest wheel in the Western Hemisphere—is in easy walking distance of the St. George Ferry terminal on Staten Island’s north shore. The project, part of a $1.6 billion waterfront revitalization plan intended to lure tourists to the borough, is adjacent to the Staten Island Yankees (minor league baseball) stadium as well as Empire Stores, a SHoP-designed retail complex that will be New York City’s first outlet mall when it opens in 2018.

New York’s S9 is the design architect and Perkins Eastman is the architect-of-record for the structure.

The Ferris wheel was supposed to open this year, but court papers reveal a number of compromising problems for the $600 million project, the New York Post reports. The developer, New York Wheel, alleges the designers, who are based in the Netherlands, missed many deadlines and have breached their $165 million contract. The two sides agreed to a 30-day mediation period that began June 12, though a construction livestream on the S9’s webpage shows no activity at the job site. Opening day, the Post says, has been moved to spring 2018.

The complaint, filed in federal court in Manhattan, details a number of issues with the project on both sides. Costs have doubled from an initial estimate of $300 million, and all this money didn’t stop city inspectors from noting poor welding on the wheel’s main legs, a major defect that has pushed back the approvals timeline. The base pad that the Ferris wheel sits on is faulty, too, while the wheel and the pad are attached incorrectly. The developers say Starneth, the same firm behind the London Eye, didn’t use a manufacturer for the wheel’s legs…

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