ST. GEORGE — Developers of the New York Wheel plan to hire the contractor that built an observation wheel in Las Vegas to finish the attraction on Staten Island, a month after the developers fired the original builder over construction delays.
The developer of the 630-foot-tall observation wheel has been in "advanced negotiation" with the American Bridge Company — which built the Las Vegas High Roller and the Tappan Zee Bridge — to take over construction on the $590 million project, a spokeswoman for the project said Saturday.
The operators will switch from contractor Mammoet-Starneth, whose 460-foot-tall crane took over the borough's waterfront, to equipment from the American Bridge Company, the spokeswoman said.
Work has continued on the project's terminal building during the changeover, and "The New York Wheel expects to announce a new completion date in the near future," spokeswoman Cristyne Nicholas said in a statement.
The New York Wheel fired Mammoet-Starneth last month over project delays after a legal battle between the two sides.
The turmoil started after Mammoet-Starneth threatened to leave the project, claiming developers failed to pay $20 million for "delay damages," according to court documents. The Wheel's developers filed a suit against them in June blaming the delays on the contractor.
The Wheel's developers also claimed Mammoet-Starneth kept raising the price for work and only threatened to leave to get more money, according to court documents.
In a letter filed with the court after the firing, Mammoet-Starneth's lawyer disputed the company was the cause of all the construction issues.
"NYW cannot readily extradite itself from its numerous defaults and pin the blame on the failure of the project to date on [Mammoet-Starneth]," the letter reads.
Crews have been working for nearly two years to build the wheel on a former parking lot at the St. George Ferry Terminal. Since then, the developer has opened an 820-space parking garage, laid down the concrete foundations for the Wheel's legs, and installed four, 90-ton pedestals to hold them in December.
The Wheel's 2,200 ton legs arrived from Italy in September and have been waiting at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal to be in installed in St. George.
The attraction was originally expected to be open in April 2018. When it does open, it will be the tallest observation wheel in the United States.