As The Linq takes shape on the Las Vegas Strip, the city will soon be home to an exciting, new attraction for all ages: The world’s largest observation wheel. At 550 feet, the High Roller will serve as a focal point of the $550 million open-air retail dining and entertainment district, which sits on the half-acre of land between The Flamingo and The Quad.
Both The Linq and the High Roller are currently under construction on the land previously occupied by a service street between the Flamingo, O’Sheas and Imperial Palace (now The Quad). The Linq is slated to open in part by December 2013 with a grand opening in February 2014 (Click here to learn more about The Linq). The High Roller is tentatively scheduled for a Spring 2014 opening.
“It wasn’t long ago that this truly was an alley,” said Brian Fink, associate principal of Klai Juba Architects during a media tour of the construction site. “The High Roller at the end is very unique and will be a world renowned feature.”
The High Roller rim is currently 25 percent done and can be seen rising like a crescent moon above the roof of the adjacent building (the future home to the eatery Yard House).
Executive Project Director David Codiga said that the High Roller rim will be lit by programmable, color-changing LED panels — about 2,500 total.
Another of the world’s greatest observation wheels, the London Eye, wasn’t well lit when it first was constructed, he explained. While the lighting issue has since been rectified, he said, “We’re trying to see if we can go past that.”
Comprised of 3.5 million pounds of steel and 112 cables, the wheel’s fabrication has spanned the globe including China, Japan, France, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Colorado and Las Vegas. The breaking force of each cable is equivalent to the weight of approximately 185 Hummer H2s.
The ride itself is a bit like an upscale Ferris wheel with 28 enclosed, air conditioned cabins providing 360-degree views of the Las Vegas valley. Each spherical cabin will hold up to 40 guests, accommodating more than 2,200 guests per hour.
The 30-minute ride will include in-cabin video and music shows. “The cycle of wheel has highs and lows,” said Codiga. “We want to augment great visual views with entertainment.”
To ride the High Roller, guests will buy tickets for specific ride times via a kiosk, online or at the hotels’ box offices.
Before boarding, guests will pass through a five-story building, which will include interactive elements on the first floor and a bar/lounge on the second.
“Sometimes people need as little courage to get on a 555 foot wheel,” joked Codiga.
Boarding will take place on the third floor while the building’s fifth floor is a hospitality floor with outdoor patios, which can be reserved for catered private parties of up to 500 people. The fourth floor will not be open to the public. The High Roller will be accessible from The Linq via multiple entrances, including a new, back porte cochère, off of Audrey Road.
“It’s great and convenient for locals,” said Codiga, “as well as those who want to avoid the Strip.”
The Las Vegas Monorail, meanwhile, passes right in front of the High Roller with convenient stops at both the Flamingo and The Quad.