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Myrtle Beach City Council clears path for SkyWheel Construction

By Beach Colony

A giant Ferris wheel is poised to be open for business in Myrtle Beach next May, after area city council leaders gave a final nod to construction on August 10th.

Members of the Myrtle Beach City Council approved an ordinance allowing developers of the SkyWheel to gain air rights in 70 square feet of beachfront property along Ocean Boulevard. The ordinance was one that needed final approval from local leaders before construction on the project could begin.

Pacific Development, LLC, said the SkyWheel would look exactly like the one the company built on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. At 175 feet tall, the SkyWheel would be much larger than the size of a standard Ferris wheel.

The St. Louis, MO-based company said the wheel has been specifically designed to include 42 glass-enclosed, temperature controlled gondolas that could hold six to eight people.

Pacific Development officials said they became interested in the Grand Strand area after learning of plans for the city to develop the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade. The plans, according to Myrtle Beach Redevelopment Corporation Executive Director David Sebok, have been well received.

"It's family friendly," Sebok said. "It's iconic. Because they're enclosed gondolas that are heated and air conditioned, it can operate all year round."

The developers of the SkyWheel said construction plans also include demolishing two buildings of the Golden Villa motel, just north of Plyler Park to construct the wheel. The plans, according to officials, also include a small restaurant and gift shop.

Pacific Development hopes to have the Ferris wheel in full operation by May 2011.

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