CAESARS Entertainment Corp. has announced it has obtained a key county permit to build the world’s tallest observation wheel in a more than half-billion dollar retail, dining and entertainment complex it is developing on the Las Vegas Strip.
The Ferris-style wheel, dubbed the High Roller, is expected to stand 167.6m tall. It is the centrepiece of a planned $550 million development, dubbed LINQ, expected to open next year between the company’s Harrah’s Las Vegas, Imperial Palace and Flamingo Las Vegas casinos.
The height would eclipse the nearly 135m London Eye, which opened in 1999, and the 165m Singapore Flyer, which opened in 2008. Both were the tallest observation wheels in the world when they opened.
The Caesars project would also be taller than a 152.4m wheel called SkyVue currently under construction about 5km south on Las Vegas Boulevard. That wheel is also expected to open in late 2013.
Caesars project chief David Codiga said the amusement and transportation systems permit received on Thursday from Clark County showed the High Roller – modelled after the London and Singapore structures – met rigorous national design, construction, maintenance, operation and safety standards.
“We learned from those experiences and we’ve used a design team with the experience to adapt them to Las Vegas,” Mr Codiga told The Associated Press. “This allows us to complete the project.”
County spokesman Erik Pappa has confirmed that Caesars was granted the permit.
As designed, the wheel is oriented parallel to the casino-lined Strip. It would have 28 air-conditioned bubble-like cabins capable of accommodating 40 people each. At capacity, more than 1100 people at a time would see broad panoramas of marquee-lit resorts during a 30-minute revolution.
Mr Codiga said Caesars has gotten inquiries already from people interested in weddings in the sky.
Jason Krolicki, project manager for Arup Engineering, said the structure was designed to exceed area seismic, wind and temperature extremes.
Mr Codiga said a final certificate of operation won’t be issued until the wheel is built, tested and commissioned.
Support structures are now about 61m high for the rival SkyVue wheel, being built by developer Howard Bulloch and Compass Investments across the Strip from the Mandalay Bay resort, near McCarran International Airport.
Project representatives said Wednesday they expect SkyVue to receive its amusement and transportation systems permit with other county applications
That wheel’s 32 gondolas, capable of holding 25 people each, would rotate perpendicular to the Strip.