Wharf unveils giant wheel project for Ocean Terminal

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2001, 12:00am

Wharf (Holdings) is seeking permission to build a giant Ferris wheel on its proposed Ocean Terminal extension in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The project, if approved, will become a tourist attraction in Hong Kong because of the wheel's size and the area's high tourist-traffic flow.

Wharf confirmed the application was submitted about a month ago to the Town Planning Board but refused to disclose details, saying it was waiting for the board's decision.

The company reportedly wants to build a 75-metre-high wheel - the height of a 25-storey building.

The idea mimics that of the successful London Eye wheel near the River Thames, the world's highest observation wheel with a diameter of 135 metres.

Ocean Park in Aberdeen has a 27-metre Ferris wheel, the only operating Ferris wheel in Hong Kong, after the closure of Happy Dragon Recreation Park in Tai Wai and the Lai Chi Kok Amusement Park.

Proposals were considered for building a Ferris wheel at Kai Tak Point, the end of the former airport runway. It would involve the Government reclaiming the surrounding seabeds. But this would not happen in the short term.

Wharf's proposed wheel would be built on top of its Ocean Terminal extension, which will feature an entertainment centre to complement the Ferris wheel.

Completed in 1966, Ocean Terminal is the oldest commercial property in Wharf's Tsim Sha Tsui portfolio. It has 648,000 square feet of retail area and 10,000 sq ft of office space.

The lease will expire in 2012, according to Wharf's annual report.

Analysts said that since the Asian financial crisis, developers had become more sensitive to devising new elements to include in projects.

Developers were scrambling to add value to projects to outperform competitors, they said.

Cheung Kong (Holdings) wanted to build a cruise terminal next to its hotel project in North Point, although the plan collapsed after public opposition.

Sun Hung Kai Properties has lined up SnowWorld Hong Kong to build the first real-snow leisure centre next to its Ma Wan residential development.