Much has been speculated about a launch of a possible Giant Observation Wheel in Hong Kong since Hong Kong’s Lands Department awarded a three-year contract to Swiss AEX in May 2013. Hong Kong’s Central Waterfront has been undergoing substantial redevelopment in recent years including the Central – Wan Chai Bypass as well as a New Central Waterfront Promenade. Plans for adding a new sightseeing attraction have been long in the pipeline for this area.
Hong Kong’s Lands Department felt the Central Waterfront promenade has been lacking of tourist attractions and could need additional sightseeing attractions. Since other metropolitan cities such as London, New York, Singapore or Dubai already have an Observation Wheel, it allowed the successful bidder Swiss AEX to operate an observation wheel.
However, there has not been much activity on the project site which is about 9,620 square meters in size and has a monthly leasing rate of HK$ 850,000 since may 2013. At the end of March 2014 we noticed the first signs that there might be new attraction coming to town. Banners reading the sponsor’s name as well as “Hong Kong Observation Wheel” have been brought up around the project site. On May 6, 2014, we noticed the first signs of construction. Cranes, materials and trucks have been allocated to the Hong Kong Observation Wheel project site.
At present, the whole Hong Kong Observation Wheel project is surrounded in silence and mystery. In the past, different countries have been competing who will have the largest or highest Ferris Wheel in the world. At the moment it seems that Hong Kong will not participate in this competition. The only information about Hong Kong’s Observation Wheel, which has been released, is that the wheel’s diameter would not be less than 50 meters.
Questions about profitability, prediction of the final size of the observation wheel, opening, pricing structure as well as the question if Hong Kong really needs this kind of attraction leave much room for discussion and speculation. Not only because there are plenty of other excellent sightseeing spots high above the city including The Peak, Sky Terrace 428 and Sky100 Observation Deck), but also many skyscrapers along Victoria Harbour, even close by the Observation Wheel construction site, also provide observation floors (e.g. Bank of China Tower), rooftop bars (e.g. Sevva Bar), or rooftop garden (e.g. IFC Tower Two) from where tourists can enjoy the fantastic views.
In addition, the non-existent flow of information from the proposed operator of the Hong Kong Observation Wheel project leaves a slight taste of bitterness adding and fueling the mystery of possible Hong Kong Observation Wheel.