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Ferris Wheel On Seattle Waterfront Starts Going Up

Katrina Roi

Three 150–foot poles loom above Pier 57 on the waterfront across from the Seattle Aquarium. They're legs to hold a giant new Ferris wheel. Construction workers began assembling the wheel on Friday. It will rise nearly 200 feet into the air and extend 40 feet over the water.


Kyle Griffith is vice president at Pier 57, and his family owns the property. When they found out the viaduct was coming down, they worried about losing business. They needed a way to keep people coming to the waterfront, so they decided to build a Ferris wheel.

Griffith says the wheel will have enclosed cabins with double–locking doors, heating and air–conditioning. There's no reason for anyone to be concerned about safety or comfort.

Griffith: "When people hear Ferris wheel, often times they get a connotation of a rusty, rinky–dink wheel. And that's not what this is at all. This is a very elegant, state–of–the–art, new attraction for Seattle that our family is very proud to be putting it in."

Griffith says there will be a VIP gondola for special occasions.

He's grateful that assembly has finally started. It's taken three years to reach this point.

Griffith: "It's amazing how many permits there were to get."

Some shoppers at Pier 57 worry the wheel will obstruct their view of the waterfront. Others say they'd have to overcome their fears to ride in it.

Emily: "I'm terrified of heights, so it'll be interesting."

Steve: "Um, heights kinda scare me a little bit. But safety measures and everything that are in place, I don't think I'd be too scared."

Gary: "Sounds pretty awesome. Except we're both scared to death of Ferris wheels. Any other ride is fine. But no, we'd probably be interested in going on it. On a non–windy, non–rainy day."

That was Emily Allen, Steve Verd and Gary Rogers.

Seattle's Ferris wheel won't be the biggest in the world. The Singapore Flyer is nearly 550 feet high.

Seattle's wheel is on track to open at the end of June. Griffith says a ride will cost $10–12.

For KUOW, I'm Katrina Roi.

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