Wheely cool! Wheely good time! If memory serves correctly, I do not recall a Ferris Wheel in the city excepting during the summer/early fall in Central Park and, naturally, on Coney Island. This absence will change when the $500M New York Wheel project led by North Capital Private Securities rolls into Staten Island next year. A landmark destination in Staten Island to rival London’s Eye! Imagine taking the ferry past Lady Liberty and disembarking to go on the Wheel before heading back to Manhattan. Would the ferry ride remain free?
Jim Dowd, founder and chief executive of North Capital, told the New York Times that he believed that the $500 million New York Wheel project “is going to be the largest transaction we’re aware of that has crowdfunding.” Having already raised around $450 million in equity and debt, New York Wheel project leaders seeks to secure another $30 million through North Capital Private Securities, the Utah broker-dealer that intends to sell some of the new shares via its 99Funding online crowdfunding platform and other crowdfunding sites.
Highlights from the 99Funding 90 day campaign launched today include:
- The New York Wheel projects 4.0 million visitors in the first year that it is open, followed by run-rate attendance of 3.5 million visitors annually
- Extensive market testing and research were conducted to support these assumptions and to identify the optimal location for The New York Wheel
- Observation attractions can generate very strong levels of visitation and are particularly popular with tourists; many large cities are able to accommodate more than one observation attraction and large numbers of tourists visit more than one such attraction during a stay
- Achieving a stable annual attendance of 3.5 million would require The New York Wheel to achieve market penetration rates at the lower end of those currently achieved by major international observation attractions
According to the New York Times and Rich Marin, the project’s chief executive, the New York Wheel was originally backed by investors including the real estate moguls Jeffrey Feil and Lloyd Goldman and the Jordache jeans magnate Joseph Nakash. A nearby planned outlet mall aims to give tourists and New Yorkers additional incentive (other than commuting or a romantic date) to take the Staten Island Ferry.
Longtime business associates from Bear Stearns and Bankers Trust, Marin and Dowd will utilize North Capital with “plans to add up to a dozen other crowdfunding sites to participate in the fund-raising,” expecting to set a minimum investment size of $5,000 to $10,000.
“Wheel construction began in May, after the project raised $195 million in senior debt from the Highbridge Capital Management hedge fund unit of JPMorgan Chase, and $150 million in additional debt from CanAm Enterprises, under an American program that allows foreign nationals — CanAm investors, in this case — to gain legal residency in the United States by making job-creating investments. Another $24 million is due next month from the CanAm investors,” reported the New York Times.
Registered 99Funding investors may learn more about the New York Wheel campaign by clicking here. View the sleek video highlighting the New York Wheel project below.
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