Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ferris Wheel Could Anchor 13-Acre Mixed-Use Project on North Side

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Ferris Wheel Could Anchor 13-Acre Mixed-Use Project on North Side

Article excerpt

An old industrial site on the Ohio River may become Pittsburgh's version of Chicago's Navy Pier, or at least part of it.

Developer Millcraft Investments is planning a giant Navy Pier-like Ferris wheel with LED lighting as a first-day attraction as part of a 13-acre mixed use project on the North Shore riverfront that also would include offices, housing and destination retail.

Lucas Piatt, Millcraft president and chief operating officer, said the Ferris wheel would be similar to those operating at Navy Pier, the National Harbor near Washington, D.C., and Pier 57 in Seattle.

Those rides reach heights of nearly 200 feet with gondolas that can hold as many as eight people each.

The Pittsburgh wheel, Mr. Piatt said, would pay homage to George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., the inventor of the ride, who lived on the city's North Side and died at Mercy Hospital in 1896.

His first Ferris wheel, built for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, was 264 feet tall and had 36 cars, each with the capacity to hold 40 to 60 passengers. The ride lasted 20 minutes.

"Pittsburgh has to have a Ferris wheel. George Ferris lived and died in Pittsburgh," Mr. Piatt said.

The Ferris wheel planned for the site would operate year-round. Like those in Chicago, Seattle and Washington, D.C., the gondolas would be enclosed and climate-controlled.

Millcraft is working on the final details of the ride with several potential operators.

Mr. Piatt said the Ferris wheel would be "one very small part," albeit a highly visible one, of a much larger development centered on the former J. Allan Steel site situated on the Ohio riverfront in Chateau west of Rivers Casino.

Millcraft also is considering the potential for a small "Pittsburgh Firsts" museum at the site that would highlight inventions and inventors from the Steel City.

The old steel site and the former Eles Concrete Facility that also is part of the development are owned by the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority. …

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