Seattle Great Wheel goes up

The Seattle waterfront evolves as the Seattle Great Wheel opens June 29, towering to 175 feet and taking the cake as the tallest Ferris wheel on the West Coast. The wheel extends 40 feet over the Puget Sound, mounted perpendicular to the skyline.

Puget Sound Business Journal reported the Seattle Great Wheel to be a "feat of civic diplomacy and salesmanship," set to open only one year and eight months after permits were applied for by Pier 57 owners.

William Justen was surprised to see the speed at which the Great Wheel went up, saying, “Shorelines are pretty restrictive for development so it’s impressive they were able to get it through the process quickly.”

Brian Stevens, spokesman for Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development, commented, “There was public notice and we didn’t get any appeals on the decision (to allow its construction) From what I understand, there was interest in the community to maintain activity on the waterfront.”

While the speed of the project is certainly impressive, Hal Griffith admits envisioning the Ferris wheel project for almost 30 years. The project was proposed and completed just in time to help support waterfront business that could be negatively affected by the approaching major construction of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The hope it that a big attraction like the Seattle Great Wheel should help to ensure patronage to waterfront businesses during the construction period, keeping them open for business and thriving.

Brian Robinson of said, “It’s the role of the city government to provide community benefits we can all enjoy with our families. It’s important to have attractions and events to bring people to this city.”

The wheel is aimed to provide visitors and residents with a view of the city with its 16 story height. The wheel's passengers will each sit in one of 42 gondolas which are temperature controlled to provide riders with maximum comfort for the roughly 12 minute ride.

The Great Wheel is built in Seattle's central business district, just south of the neighborhood of Belltown. Nearby attractions include classic Seattle favorites such as Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, where everything from classic candies to magic tricks to totem poles are sold, as well as the famous Pike Place Market, where local farmers, craftspeople and of course, fishmongers, sell their goods year round. If looking for real estate in Seattle, West Seattle can provide a location that is an arm’s length away from the beach and nearby the impressive new tallest Ferris wheel on the West Coast.