Exclusive: NY Wheel to hire Las Vegas High Roller contractor

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — After firing its contractor last month, the New York Wheel is planning to hire the builder of the Las Vegas High Roller and the new Tappan Zee Bridge to finish constructing the 630-foot-high tourist attraction on the St. George waterfront, the Advance has learned.

“New York Wheel is in advanced negotiation with American Bridge Company, the builder of the Las Vegas High Roller observation wheel and the new Tappan Zee Bridge, to take over and complete the erection of the NY Wheel,” said Cristyne Nicholas, spokesperson for The New York Wheel.

She wouldn’t comment on the contract specifics, such as what the NY Wheel will pay the American Bridge Company. So far, the work completed on the the NY Wheel cost $400 million of its $580 million funding pot, said Nicholas.

NY Wheel fired Mammoet-Starneth LLC last month after the company failed “to meet multiple design and construction deadlines,” said Nicholas.

The New York Wheel alleges it has suffered more than $16 million in damages resulting from Mammoet’s delays, and $20 million in lost profits and other damages due to the designer’s breach of contract.

Theo Kroese, a Holland-based company spokesman for Mammoet-Starneth, has refused comment.

CRANES TO BE REMOVED

Negotiations appear to be advanced enough that arrangements are being made to remove the towering cranes belonging to the former NY Wheel contractor from the site.

“As part of that transition, the cranes previously provided by Mammoet are not required and will be removed from the project site in order to make way for replacement equipment,” said Nicholas. 

While she couldn’t say when American Bridge Company is expected to sign a contract or begin work, she noted the Wheel will soon be announcing a new target date for the project’s completion.

“Work on the terminal building continues. The New York Wheel expects to announce a new completion date in the near future,” said Nicholas.

WILL IT BE COMPLETE BEFORE AIN DUBAI?

While the Las Vegas High Roller, at 550-feet-high, holds the distinction for the largest attraction of its kind, there’s now a race on to see which wheel — being built in New York or Dubai — will outdo it first.

Originally estimated to be completed in 2016, the New York Wheel was supposed to be the tallest observation wheel in the world at 630 feet high — a distinction it was going to hold until the completion of an even larger wheel in Dubai.

The United Arab Emirates’ Ain Dubai, which will be 689 feet…

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