NORTH SIDE (KDKA) — The 15-acre riverfront site along the Ohio River near the Cardello Building could be home to something spectacular.
“We think if any place should have a Ferris wheel, it should be Pittsburgh,” says Lucas Piatt, president of Millcraft.
Yes, a Ferris wheel, named after its inventor George Ferris, who lived on Arch Street on the North Side.
Piatt wants to bring the Ferris wheel back to Pittsburgh as part of a mixed-used residential, office, and recreational site along the Ohio River, the developer told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday.
“It will be along the lines of what you see at the National Harbor outside of D.C. Maybe not as large as the Seattle wheel, but our goal is to make it look a little bit different than those,” Piatt said. “It will still be a very modern wheel where the capsules will be climate-controlled. In the winter time, you can utilize it and so forth, air conditioning in the summer time. But we will try to make the wheel look, in concept, like the original wheel.”
Video exists of the original wheel Ferris designed for the 1893 Chicago Exposition, an idea developed right here in Pittsburgh.
“Every carnival, every fair, every theme park has a Ferris wheel,” says Anne Madarasz, chief historian at the Heinz History Center. “That all started here — the Pittsburgh businessman, Pittsburgh engineer, Pittsburgh idea guy who dreamed it all up and made it possible.”
Piatt envisions something unique that will attract both visitors and locals alike.
A Ferris wheel in the location just below the West End Bridge could offer some spectacular views of Downtown Pittsburgh and the Point and an alternative view down the Ohio River.
The wheel, says Piatt, will be part of a half-billion dollar development project.
“We will have a hotel. We will have unique first-day destinations. We will have recreation, boating, marina,” notes Piatt. “About 700 units within the building, within the project, both rental and for sale.”
So when can you ride the Ferris wheel?
Well, not likely before 2022, says Piatt.