Last updated: 02:18 PM ET, Tue June 23 2015

Chicago's Navy Pier Puts in Tall Order for New Ferris Wheel

Destination & Tourism | Tom Bastek | June 23, 2015

Chicago's Navy Pier Puts in Tall Order for New Ferris Wheel

Photo courtesy of the Navy Pier. 

Just in time for the Navy Pier’s Centennial celebration, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced this week that the Pier has purchased a brand new Ferris wheel to replace the existing wheel that was originally installed in 1995.  The new wheel will be 49 feet taller than the old one, and handle up to 180 more passengers per ride as well as offer temperature -controlled gondolas enabling year-round use.

"The redevelopment of Navy Pier is a vital to our ongoing efforts to attract 55 million visitors annually to the City of Chicago by 2020, creating new jobs and injecting millions of dollars into our local economy," said Mayor Emanuel. "I commend Navy Pier on the purchase of this new Ferris wheel, as it will bring new energy to this one of a kind Chicago attraction."

The Navy Pier is a nonprofit organization and is overseeing the pier’s redevelopment into a “bolder, greener and more contemporary urban space.”

"As we reimagine Navy Pier, we couldn't think of a more exciting and appropriate way to celebrate the upcoming 2016 Centennial Celebration than acquiring a brand new world-class Ferris wheel," says William J. Brodsky, Chairman of the Navy Pier Inc. Board of Directors. "The new wheel is yet another example of our continuing commitment to ensure that Navy Pier remains the region's number-one leisure destination and a place of pride for the city and its residents."

The new wheel, which will be installed between September 2015 and Summer 2016, is able to withstand winds up to 115 miles per hour and contains safety glass capable of handling intense storms

"One of our goals was to be sure the new wheel would provide our guests with a significantly enhanced year-round experience," says Marilynn K. Gardner, President and CEO, Navy Pier, Inc. "The new wheel will deliver a smoother and more luxurious ride – increasing ride time from seven minutes to twelve minutes, and circling three times, not just once as the current wheel does."

This news comes right after the announcement of numerous high-end restaurant partners coming to the area. Concepts will include Chicago's famous stuffed pizza from Giordano's, Big Bowl, Frankie's Pizza by the Slice, DMK Burger and Fish, Goddess and the Baker and more to come this summer.

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