San Diego Ferris wheel

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A 400-foot Ferris wheel on the Waterfront next to the U.S.S Midway is being considered.

Three different groups want to do it, and they will present their plans to the Port Commission next month.

On Wednesday, one of those groups, Discovery Point, was previewed before a coalition of architectural and planning groups downtown.

Discovery Point gave a 20-minute presentation of the concept to members of the environment and design council at the new School of Architecture and Design tomorrow.

In addition to the Ferris wheel, there is a terraced park, and a pavilion filled with interactive exhibits and shows.

“The purpose of the project is to try to create a place where we can tell our compelling San Diego story,” said David Malmuth from Discovery Point.

Developer David Malmuth said this is much more than a wheel, it is sort of a world’s fair pavilion of San Diego’s heritage.

“Things like Indian tribes and the military and our fascination with flight. Our art and our culture. We have amazing artistic capabilities in San Diego in performance, music and the visual art.,” he said.

The wheel itself would rotate through the pavilion.

“That allows you to ascent up to 450-feet, and to see it all. You see the view down to Mexico. You’ll see we’re one big region. You’ll see up to Ocenside. You’ll see the islands and the mountains,” he added.

Malmuth said it is extremely sensitive to have the wheel in the right place, where the people are, in this case the parking lot next to the U.S.S. Midway.

“What we want is to have a great pedestrian experience on the Waterfront. All the way from the Maritime Museum, down to the Hilton. Being a piece of that ribbon of experiences is very, very important,” he said.

Also, important is approvals and permits from the Port District, and the Coastal Commission.

Two other Ferris wheel plans will go before the Port Commission next month. It’s the first of many steps.

“It’s for the port to agree on a process that would allow our project to be evaluated,” he said.

At $200-million, all privately financed, Discovery Point’s plan is the most ambitious.

“We’re confident if we can control the site, and we can execute the plan that we’ve described, that we will be successful,” he said.

There are seven companies involved in this project, including SeaWorld.

The challenge for all these plans is being consistent with the port’s master plan which is being developed. Outgoing Port Chairman Bob Nelson feels the port should not consider the plans until the master plan is completed.

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