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Ready For A Third Ferris Wheel And London-Themed Thrill Park?

March 25, 2013 at 7:49 PM | by | ()

Will it be SkyView vs. Skyvue in a never-to-happen observation wheel battle?

What fresh hell is this? Plans have been revealed to build a $50 million "observation wheel" and a London-themed thrill park across the street from CityCenter. Apparently, the creators also build time machines and live in 2006.

Wait, a London, England-themed park? We'll get to that, but you'll need to stick with us for a few paragraphs as we try and unravel the participants and history of this out-of-nowhere concept. The Las Vegas Sun first reported this part of the story after witnessing the Clark County Zoning Commission give a green light for this unlikely investment to move forward. And, now that we've watched video from that same meeting, we can add details and background that are simply puzzling.

Earlier this month, we warned of Metroflag Cable LLC's ambition to add outdoor pop-up stores to their hideous 18-acre plot of land that sits between the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse and the Harley Davidson Cafe. Hideous too harsh? Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani declared this area of the Strip, including the Hawaiian Marketplace, "tacky," during the meeting focused on these new shops. However, these pop-up establishments are just a "temporary" measure before they begin the real work on a theme park they think will revolutionize this whole neighborhood. They offered no blueprints or concrete information at this meeting. But, their first priority is apparently temporary shopping. Maybe the sale of wolf pack t-shirts will fund it?

During the zoning commission meeting, Metroflag admitted they were finally out of bankruptcy and only recently turned their attention to this plot of land. Perhaps, they have short memories. Way back in 2006 they were trying to turn it into "a hotel, casino, entertainment, retail, commercial and residential development project." Who wasn't?

They have at least started a current paper trail. London Thrill Park (Las Vegas) Inc. was formed in September last year. A previous LLC with the same name was dissolved so it didn't work once before. They've also trademarked the name. Trips off the tongue, doesn't it?

Amazingly, it's not the first or second time a London-themed attraction has been proposed. Three times the charm? The indispensable Vegas Today And Tomorrow features renderings of the two previous failed dream resorts. Both featured Big Ben, the Palace of Westminster and an observation wheel. You know how they turned out.

The commission pushed for more London Thrill details, but were told it would be about six months before they'd be presented. Hinting at skepticism, Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani expressed her belief the SkyVue Super Wheel was not going to be completed. That's despite her and her colleagues doing everything in their powers to help Skyvue along. And, she suggested that merely a "nice idea" should no longer be grounds for construction approval. Giunchigliani bemoaned the current "idea du jour" trend that has resulted now in three observation wheels and multiple stadium proposals.

That's a County Commissioner, with access to inside knowledge, saying she doesn't believe the Skyvue observation wheel will be finished. We've been roundly criticized for saying exactly that, for months and months. And, we're telling you now -- in our considered opinion -- the London Thrill Park observation wheel will never turn. Never. If Metroflag Cable has never been able to clean up their eyesore properties and still thinks in terms of temporary retail, why do they think they can create a $50 million theme park property? Aha! Here's why:

Whenever anyone writes about this area they say that so-and-so person has a "financial interest" in the property. One of those with an interest in this block was Brett Torino. His company now has an interest in Harmon Corner. He also has an interest in Circle Entertainment Inc.; which also used to have an interest in these 18 acres. What does Circle Entertainment do? They try to create “location-based entertainment venues.” They are very slowly creating I-Drive Live park in Orlando, Florida. Another park? Yep, this attraction might one day feature the Orlando Eye, their 425-foot tall version of the London Eye observation wheel.

So, why is this small group of investors and dreamers so jazzed about an observation wheel? Part of the interests of Circle Entertainment Inc. is the company that would make the SkyView observation wheel seen at the top of our page. Phew! You'd never know any of this from the local press. But we can assure you, if Las Vegas let's them start building this thing, you'll sure know it's a construction site.

Over the last decade, three London theme parks, and six Ferris wheels have been proposed. A decade from now, only the Linq's High Roller will be remembered. Don't make us come down to the public meeting, County Commissioners. Check, check and triple check before this pipe dream starts digging up the Strip.

(Renderings: SkyView,Vegas Today And Tomorrow)

Archived Comments:

Trust a Politician?

Sorry, but I find this wrong on so many levels.  Local government should not have the power to block a private company from using private money to build something just because it is similar to some other project.

Does Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani have any background in theme park attractions?  (I doubt it.)  The idea that a company would start building a $50 million attraction without intention to complete it is asinine.

Frankly, the fact that she labels the current development "tacky" is immaterial.


Frankly, I think the prospects are not good on this project reaching fruition.  The developers have a weak history.  But, having said that, it'd at least be in a much better foot traffic location than Skyvue.  And, that area really could use some improvement.


Really?!? Look around Vegas and see all the uncompleted projects that have more than 50Million put into them. Not just Vegas, but many cities.
So would you rather they allow just anything and everything to be built and then in a year you can have a giant ferris wheel that isn't being used that now requires police to constantly patrol so that drunks don't try to climb it?

London Theme not so bad...

but it doesn't have the interest and excitement of other cities.  I think Venice, Rome, general Italian themes, New Orleans, etc. are more exciting.


I thought Vegas was moving away from themed resorts. This seems so late to the discussion.Vegas certainly does not need three wheels.

Yup, Asinine

I agree that unfinished real estate projects are bad for any community.  But, that's not really the issue here.

That is utterly ridiculous is that Commissioner Giunchigliani seems to be trying to block this project just because she believes it's not going to succeed because there are two other similar developments.  As I wrote, I sincerely doubt that she has any knowledge of the theme park/attractions industry.

Unfinished real estate projects are a completely separate issue.


Sorry.  Second sentence should start with "What is..."

Have you BEEN to the strip?!

I'm glad there is a sensible commissioner who wants to quash this absurd idea. Have you been to North of the Strip? Those ASININE projects ruined that end of one of the greatest blvds in America because everyone had their head so far up their @$$ back then. Two massive holes in the ground and an ugly imposing skeleton that are now beyond embarrassing. And now Skyvue is so obviously ALSO going to fail! ANOTHER eyesore that will sit for a decade! Your free market rationality can have ruinous results for many years if the right people aren't paying attention. Clearly SOME people in Vegas have learned their lesson. The city should be as cautious as possible with mega developments from here forward. Approvals have to be given for private projects all the time in places all around the world; do you think Macau would be the gambling capital of the world if not at least in part for the strict licensing  and building standards imposed by their government (NOT endorsing communism here either!!!) ?   Please take your inane, FREE MARKET FREE MARKET FREE MARKET diatribe to a right wing political website.

Pass the sick bucket

At a push, I could live with another 'outdoor pop-up store' retail opportunity - but Chris Giunchigliani has a point, it does sound tacky and shite.

However, a 'London Thrill Park'...Fuck-a-doodle-doo!

Just plain wrong...

Two Issues Here

I'm amused at how you think you know me based on the 10 sentences I wrote. I'm actually about as far left politically as you can get. But, that doesn't really matter.

There are two separate issues at play here. You seem to be quite upset over unfinished real estate development projects. If you take the time to read what I wrote, you'd see that I agreed that they are bad for communities. That's all I said. Provided they are fair across the board, I have no issue with cities requiring proof of funds prior to giving approval.

The other issue is the one that concerns me. That issue is a local politician who appears to be using only her uneducated opinion to try to block a project she doesn't like. Commissioner Giunchigliani is of the belief that a third wheel is bad. (I agree, but that's immaterial.) As such, she is against this project, even though the wheel is only one component.

It is not her job to tell a private companies that they can't build someone simply because similar businesses already exist. So, on that issue I am for the free market. (Or "FREE MARKET" times three as you imagine me yelling.)

I only have passing knowledge on Macau, so I can't the politics of real estate development there. But, this story isn't about Macau, so what happens there isn't relevant.