Hong Kong Observation Wheel faces imminent demolition

The wheel formerly known as the Hong Kong Observation Wheel, which was shut down on Tuesday, is likely to be dismantled from Thursday – former operator Swiss AEX has said.

It will likely be replaced by a new observation wheel. A new wheel may be built at the Central Harbourfront site, reports The Standard.

The attraction’s old and new operators have failed to see eye to eye. Secretary for Development, Michael Wong Wai-lun, said that Swiss AEX has to vacate the site by the end of October. He said that this includes removing the wheel and its foundation.

“Unfortunately, they have yet to reach an agreement,” Wong said. Restoring the premises could take two months and it is unlikely the wheel could be operated in the meantime, he said.

Swiss AEX have estimated that it will cost HK$1.5 million ($191,685 USD) to remove the wheel and restore the premises.

Swiss AEX said at the weekend that the wheel will be taken down unless a deal is struck by Thursday.

Wong’s bureau defended the legitimacy of the tendering process. They vouched for the financial viability of the new operator.

The new operator fared better in terms of its technical submission. The bureau said that its ticket pricing has a “clear competitive edge.”

This could suggest that ticket prices will drop. Ticket prices used to be HK$100 for adults and HK$70 for children and students. The government has not provided any new information.

The tenancy granted to Swiss AEX expired last Monday. The wheel ceased operation the next day. Customers were not given prior notice.

The observation wheel attracted over one million people in the three years it has been open. The 60-metre tall construction was supplied by Dutch Wheels.

Swiss AEX’s website says that the wheel took five months to construct.

Image courtesy of Ceeseven via Wikicommons

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