New ferris wheel set to grace the city skyline as the Melbourne Star falters

New ferris wheel set to grace the city skyline as the Melbourne Star falters
Brendan Rees

A new 35-metre ferris wheel is set to open in South Wharf at Polly Woodside Park as uncertainty grows over the future of the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel in Docklands.

The ferris wheel, to be located outside the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre by the Yarra River, will tower over the city skyline for the next six months as part of a new attraction by Skyline Attractions.

The company, which had a ferris wheel in St Kilda over summer, said “visitors will have the opportunity to embark on a thrilling journey to the skies and witness Melbourne like never before”.

“The giant ferris wheel, boasting enclosed gondolas for utmost comfort and safety, promises breathtaking panoramic views of Melbourne’s iconic landmarks and bustling cityscape,” it said.

The attraction precinct will also have a South Wharf social hub with food and drinks, as well as a nine-hole mini-golf course, from April 29 to September 22.

“We are thrilled to introduce the Skyline precinct and giant ferris wheel to Melbourne,” Skyline Attractions’ business manager Jane Jones (pictured above) said.

 

This exciting new venue promises to be a highlight of the city’s attractions, offering an unparalleled experience for all who visit.

 

In contrast, the former iconic Melbourne Star landmark continues to sit idle and deteriorate after closing nearly three years ago when its operating company MB Star Properties Pty Ltd went into liquidation.

Andrew Hewitt, partner and head of financial advisory at Grant Thornton, said: “We are currently working with a party in relation to the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel and they have commenced a due diligence process to assess the operational issues in respect of the wheel”.

"Upon completion of this they will determine whether they wish to progress to a purchase of the assets."

 

 

But Lord Mayor Sally Capp told Docklands News it was her understanding that “all sorts of efforts were made to find ways for it to continue, and it just wasn’t commercially feasible”.

“More recently, the focus has been on whether it can in any way be reactivated, and I think that has sort of come to the end of the line now,” she said.

“The owners are currently working through that. I believe they’ve had the various parts up for sale, so if you’d like one of those capsules at your place, you can buy one for a fee.”

Cr Capp said that while she would love the wheel to turn again, the council, the state government and other Docklands business owners were “open to good ideas” on privately-owned land next to the District Docklands shopping centre, should the Melbourne Star no longer operate.

A Docklands Representative Group spokesperson said it was an “unfortunate situation” of the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, which was “slowly decaying before our eyes”.

 

“This limbo not only diminishes the aesthetic appeal of the area but also reflects poorly on the management of such a significant landmark,” the spokesperson said.

 

“While its commercial viability is dubious, allowing it to languish in a state of disrepair serves neither the interests of the community nor those of potential investors. It is imperative that decisive action is taken now to either revitalise the wheel to ensure its continued operation or action alternative options for its future, even if that it is its removal.”

A member of the new Community3008 group said, “it would be good to get the wheel up and running again, especially as the infrastructure is already in place. Local residents miss the lights”.

Among those who would like to see the wheel become a premier attraction is Docklands resident Paul Vella.

“I feel that the wheel was great for tourists and local businesses,” he said.

“The light show from the wheel provided a great attraction at the entrance to Docklands from the west and as viewed when crossing the Bolte Bridge. I feel that it is a shame it has closed.” •

 

Caption: A new ferris wheel is gearing up to open at Polly Woodside Park.

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