Giant Ferris wheel clears major hurdle in MB

Myrtle Beach, SC - MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Developers are one step closer to adding a giant Ferris wheel to the Grand Strand skyline, following Tuesday's approval of a land swap by the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission.

Members of the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission approved a measure that would abandon an alley between 1106 N. Ocean Blvd. and 1108 N. Ocean Blvd. to make room for the ride. The abandonment of the alley allowed officials to swap the land and extend the boundaries of Plyler Park by 70 feet.

In addition to Tuesday's land swap, the commission passed a request by the developers of the attraction to gain air rights in 70 square feet of beachfront property. The motion also secured an additional 320 square feet of Plyler Park to be used for two stairways and a handicapped access ramp.

The important approvals by city officials come in wake of Pacific Development, LLC, eyeing up the Grand Strand as the location for its newest Ferris wheel.

The St. Louis, MO-based company said the Ferris wheel would look exactly like one the company built on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. At 175 feet tall, it would be much larger than the standard size. Each gondola, according to officials, would 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. Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation Executive Director David Sebok said the proposal for the attraction has been well received among city leaders.

"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 Ferris wheel said construction plans include demolishing two buildings of the Golden Villa motel, just north of Plyler Park to construct the wheel.

The plan, according to officials, also calls for a small restaurant and gift shop.

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