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Venice Beach Ferris Wheel: What’s Your Opinion?

by on March 8, 2012

Venice Ferris Wheel1 300x154 Venice Beach Ferris Wheel: What’s Your Opinion?A 200-foot observation wheel to be built on Venice Beach at the end of Windward? Yes, the idea was proposed in a public meeting in Venice on Monday and has drawn mixed reviews from locals.

The idea was hatched by United Kingdom based Great City Attractions who have, according to their website, built several of these wheels in the UK and one in Australia. They would pay the cost of installing the project and would split the profits with LA’s Department of Recreation and Parks. Great City Attractions would file for a 3 year permit with the City and they have an ambitious goal of opening the wheel by the Summer of this year.

The wheel would be located just West of the Boardwalk between the skate park and the police substation, and would create an incredible view up and down the coast. Check out these great mock-ups of what it could look like on Yo!Venice. The wheel would likely be open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and cost $10-15 a ride.

To me it sounds like an awesome idea, one that harkens back to what Venice was originally created as – an amusement park. I think it could end up being the signature icon for Venice going forward and could generate some much-needed income for the area.

However, some Venice locals have raised some concerns about the details of the project and I feel many of them are valid. The chief issues locals have are over the impact on parking and traffic, and of course, where the generated revenue will go.

London Eye Ferris Wheel 200x300 Venice Beach Ferris Wheel: What’s Your Opinion?As far as the parking and traffic goes, I don’t think the wheel will increase the amount of people coming to Venice Beach all that much. Yes, I think there will be a slight increase, and I think the length of time that people spend on the Boardwalk will go up, but Venice already attracts 17 million people a year, so its hard to see it increasing much more. Parking and traffic already suffer in the area near the Boardwalk, and I actually see the wheel as a means to eventually solve those issues.

How? Through the revenue generated of course, which I think is the biggest detail that needs to be clearly addressed before this the project is agreed upon.

Right now the income would be split between Great City Attractions and the LA Department of Recreation and Parks. However, the money going to LA would go into the general fund and only a portion would go to Venice’s parks and recreation sites. I think that if Venice is taking on the extra usage (as little as it may be) from the wheel, then it should be rewarded with more than just a small portion of the money.

Doesn’t it make sense to have the generated revenue go to, as the Venice Stakeholders Association suggested, a fund to build to low level parking structures in Venice to assist the area’s parking woes? This fund could also help build new and improve the existing bathrooms on the Boardwalk and help maintain all parks in Venice instead of helping other areas. Instead of being a drain on the area, this project could help some of Venice’s biggest issues.

While I think these two main details of the project need to be sorted out, in general I think the idea is one that would be good for Venice.

What do you think about the proposed Venice Beach Ferris Wheel? Would you ride it if it were built? What other concerns do you have about it?

 Images courtesy of Curbed LA and artwork_rebel’s Flickr Photostream

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Alex Quaid is an Associate Partner for Partners Trust Real Estate specializing in the Venice Beach community. He is an avid surfer and is obsessed with the Lakers. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter via @alexquaid5.

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