The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Wednesday unveiled a plan to build the world's tallest hubless Ferris wheel on the banks of Han River near the World Cup Stadium in northwestern Seoul.
The 180-meter Ferris wheel on the landfill-turned-grassland Haneul Park, which is located on a hilltop, will be the tallest one of its kind, the city government said. The world's tallest spokeless Ferris wheel, at 145 meters, opened in Shandong province in China in 2017.
It will also be the second-tallest among all Ferris wheels in the world after the 250-meter Ain Dubai on Bluewaters Island, United Arab Emirates, Seoul City added.
Tentatively named "Seoul Ring Zero," visitors riding the wheel will be able to see the city from a height of 276 meters above sea level, standing taller than some of Seoul's popular observation landmarks, including 63 Building in the financial district of Yeouido. Construction of the Seoul Ferris wheel will begin in 2025 with completion expected by 2027.
Seoul Ring Zero will have 36 carriages that can accommodate up to 25 passengers each, or up to 12,000 people on a daily basis. With the use of augmented reality technology, tourism information will be projected onto the glass walls in each capsule-shaped carriage. The government also hopes to allow patrons to "dine in the sky" by organizing catered banquets. The wheel frame, meanwhile, will be designed to generate solar power.
"(Seoul City) has long reviewed the feasibility of Ferris wheels given the millions of tourist visits expected and jobs created, but the fundraising challenges and safety regulations have left plans in disarray," Hong Sun-ki, director general at the Future Urban Spaces Planning Bureau of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, told a briefing.
"Now is the time to wipe out concerns and build the Ferris wheel under a feasible plan to reveal the true value of the Han River and open the way for the era when some 30 million tourists visit Seoul."
Seoul City will also consider installing gondola lifts and moving walkways to give tourists greater access to Haneul Park, which visitors can choose to either climb up to from the bottom of the hill or take a paid golf-cart shuttle service.
The project, on a 20,000-square-meter lot, will cost a total of 400 billion won ($303.3 million), according to Seoul.
The Seoul government will accept construction proposals from private-sector companies until June.
The plan was first revealed by Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon on March 3 during his regular meeting with diplomatic corps in Korea.