Another wheel?

Jan 24, 2006 3:40 AM

The wheel is back on the Strip!

At least the concept of a large Ferris wheel is back. Last week, Clark County commissioners approved Phil Ruffin’s preliminary plans to put a giant Ferris Wheel on his New Frontier site.

The wheel, which includes several observation cabins, is part of a massive plan to redevelop the desirable property located across from Wynn Las Vegas.

The 485-foot high Ferris wheel would rival a similar one mentioned for the site of the now defunct Westward Ho.

The manufacturer of the Ferris wheel, Voyager Entertainment, has pitched the wheel for the Westward Ho site, and was to build one in back of the Rio before those plans were scrapped.

If built, the new Ferris wheel would resembled the famous London Eye wheel located overlooking the Thames River.

The redesigned New Frontier would also include 2,800 guest rooms and a much more modern appearance than the San Francisco theme that Phil Ruffin tossed out five years ago.

Ruffin said the design process for the new resort could take an entire year with costs approaching $2 billion. The New Frontier would remain open at least through 2007 with the new resort not opening until 2009 or 2010.

Generally speaking, the New Frontier would contain the "usual suspects" mentioned with most new resorts. They include a large showroom or performing arts center, health spa/club, nightclubs, poker parlors, wedding chapels, and overflowing convention and meeting space.

The casino itself would be nearly 100,000 square feet, and shopping and retail space would take up 540,000 square feet. The pool and outdoor recreation areas would be a massive 250,000 square feet.

Ruffin said his plans would retain the country-western nightclub, Gilley’s. The guest rooms would be contained in a 62-story tall tower, plus there would be more than a dozen lanai suites.

The Ferris wheel would contain 32 observation cabins that could hold up to 25 people. They would also be equipped for entertainment with food service and bar tending.

Passengers would also be able to stroll the cabins when not planted in motorized streets that allow for unobstructed views of the Strip.