ST. GEORGE — The first part of the massive Ferris wheel expected to bring hordes of visitors eager for stunning views of the city to Staten Island is in place.
Crews spent hours pouring concrete foundation at the first section of the New York Wheel on Saturday.
About 450 trucks poured 4,000 cubic feet of concrete into the wheel's base that will hold up the 630-foot, 20-million-pound structure when it opens, which is expected to be next year.
"I would challenge anybody who doesn't believe to come down here and look at the $250 million we have in the ground," said Rich Marin, CEO of the New York Wheel.
"We're either delusional or something if we don't think it's real at this point."
The concrete pour was the first of two. The second is scheduled for June 25, Marin said.
The wheel's legs will be embedded into the concrete, which Marin expects to happen in October.
Crews worked for nearly 16 hours pouring 11 feet of concrete — making sure it stayed at the same temperature and dried evenly — that will eventually hold the $580 million attraction.
Despite the wheel moving a step closer to spinning on Staten Island's waterfront, the project has hit several snags including going nearly $300 million over budget and being embattled in a legal fight with two investors.
"Big projects have lots of bumps, everything seems to take longer than you think," Marin said.
"We're here and we're where we need to be to get this thing finished by the end of next year."
Marin called the lawsuits filed by the investors "petty annoyances," and added that "we're working through it."
Crews have been working at the site — adjacent to the St. George Ferry Terminal — for nearly 13 months, getting the foundation ready and building a 950-unit parking garage.
Marin hopes to get the first section of the garage, with 820 spaces for commuters and visitors, open in time for the Staten Island Yankee's opening day on June 24 this year.
When it opens next year, the center of the wheel will be slightly higher than the tallest building in the borough, the Castleton Park apartments on St. Mark's Place, Marin said.