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Gazza

Southern Star: cost blowouts and delays

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$60m wheel of misfortune Herald Sun Jeremy Kelly 30/3/05 THE cost of a giant ferris wheel planned for Docklands has blown out by $20 million and will not be ready for the Commonwealth Games. The 120m structure is set to cost $60 million and will not be finished until at least late 2007. Another woe is the failure to attract a naming rights sponsor for the Southern Star Observation Wheel. The wheel, which will have 21 pods each holding up to 22 people, will be at the northern end of the Waterfront City development at the Docklands. Each ride will last about 25 minutes. Tickets will cost up to $25. The developers of the 19ha project, which will include restaurants, shops and housing, had said the wheel would be a viewing platform for some of the Commonwealth Games sports to be held at Docklands next year. But Mark Broomfield, managing director for Waterfront City developer ING Real Estate, said yesterday it would not be ready until at least November 2007. He attributed the $20 million blowout to a more complicated design and the rising cost of steel. He denied there were doubts that the wheel would be built. "We are very committed to it," Mr Broomfield said. "We see it as a very important part of creating the entertainment precinct." He said he was involved in negotiations with several national and international companies over a sponsorship deal, but he declined to name them. Opposition major projects spokeswoman Louise Asher said the wheel would be an eyesore and inappropriate for Melbourne. "Melbourne is a city of style and class and I don't think this is the best thing for it," she said. A spokesman for Major Projects Minister John Lenders said the Government would not help finance the ferris wheel. In a parliamentary report submitted after a European trip in 2002, then planning minister Mary Delahunty described London's giant wheel The Eye as "spectacular on a sunny, balmy evening" but it was "not for Melbourne". She said a city needed spectacular tourist attractions such as Buckingham Palace and Big Ben for the wheel to work.
In my opinion $60 million is too much, especially since the ride will only be able to carry around 924 pp/h, thats less than many major roller coasters. For $60 million a small amusment park could be built, featuring some quality rides, Superman at MW is costing just $12 million so you could have a park with a major coaster and still have 80% of your budget to spare. Im not to sure how the attraction will go up against the Rialto oberservation deck and the upcoming Eureka tower. Rialtos admission price is a little over half that of what they are planning to charge for a ride on the wheel, Rialto has sight and sound show, and It offers better views than what what the wheel will give (half of what you see will be the port). An Amusement park could also charge people more than what they are charging for a single ride. Still, if ING like the idea then good luck to them.

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the ride will only be able to carry around 924 pp/h, thats less than many major roller coasters.
It certainly isn't more then any Dreamworld coasters :) A bit of a bummer really, I was looking forward to seeing it sooner.

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