When project developers announced plans for the embattled New York Wheel were officially dead on Oct. 23, a small contingent of Staten Island officials expressed hope the Wheel might still receive yet another chance. Members of the SIEDC, a major cheerleader of the Wheel and its lasting impact on the borough, even publicly released suggestions for “Team Two.” But more than a month has passed since the privately funded landmark fell victim to construction delays and contractor feuds and there is zero indication of that rescue, let alone an official announcement for the abandoned site’s future.
“This is disappointing news because I believed the Wheel would be a net plus for our borough,” noted Borough President James Oddo when the project was first dissolved. “There are plenty of recriminations that will fester, but our work at Borough Hall is now focused on ensuring a smooth transition of the parking garage so commuters will be unaffected, as well as working with the city to resolve expeditiously all of the ‘what now’ questions. I have already spoken to NYC EDC President James Patchett, and these dialogues are underway.”
Work on the Wheel, which had been in the works for more than five years, was halted in May of 2017 after a highly publicized feud began over project delays and work payments between the New York Wheel’s developer and the project’s contractor, Holland-based Mammoet-Starneth. The contractor was fired, counter lawsuits were filed and Mammoet-Starneth declared bankruptcy in December of 2017, listing monthly storage payments for Wheel parts at $700,000 in court documents.
A standstill period of 120 days was granted, allowing New York Wheel to find another contractor for the project.
But with no public money earmarked for what Mayor DeBlasio has called an “expensive, speculative project” and estimated costs for the project skyrocketing from $250 million to $999 million, local officials