KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For commuters on Interstate 35, it may be hard to miss a new rising landmark headed north into downtown Kansas City.
Almost overnight the Pennway Point Ferris wheel has risen and is nearing its completed circular form.
The first public rides are still a couple of months out. Developers said it will open in November, but there’s no exact date yet.
But as for the visual impact, the past week has been pretty stunning as far as progress goes. The new Ferris wheel is easy to spot to the east of the interstate just after Penn Valley Park.
“I think every day they go ‘Oh!’ and even people who’ve heard about the observation wheel coming, it was still that ambiguous concept, but now it’s like ‘Oh! It’s that big,'” said Karyn Wilder, vice president and general manager for Icon Experiences, the company working to put up the structure.
“[They’re] building on six-to-seven months of foundation work with another amazing team who got that done for us. But yes, the pieces arrive here from Europe,” Wilder said.
During the next month, workers will hang the climate-controlled gondolas.
Renderings show the plans for what else in the Pennway Point project will open this year, including a mini golf course and concessions. More amenities are expected to open in early 2024.
But the wheel — with an expected capacity of 216 at one time — will start taking riders in November. At that time lighting will also match surrounding theme nights. Think “Red Friday” at Union Station.
But it can also be programed for other uses, like gender reveals.
“So you and your friends and family came come out, and you’ll watch a show and then the wheel will go pink or blue,” Wilder said. “And it’s not only announced to your group but to everyone else, your good news!”
“Everybody driving by on 35 will…” FOX4’s Jacob Kittilstad started.
“…Will be able to celebrate with you!” Wilder finished.
The wheel structure will likely be completed by the end of the week. What comes next is mostly electrical work followed by the installation of 36 gondolas.
The gondolas are completely enclosed so the wheel will be in operation through its first winter. All gondolas are wheelchair accessible.