MIAMI – South Florida residents and visitors alike can now get a whole new view of Downtown Miami.
Local leaders cut the ribbon Wednesday on the city’s brand-new observation wheel.
“Bayside is back, and Bayside is open,” said City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell at the event.
Just like that, the long-awaited Skyviews Miami Observation Wheel celebrated its grand opening.
“(It cost) a million dollars to give people, who pay just a few dollars, multi-million dollar views to our city,” said City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
The wheel, which officially opened Friday, has already seen 3,000 riders, according to Mayor Suarez.
Regular gondolas seat eight people but the VIP gondola features leather seats and a glass bottom.
“This is going to be part of our skyline,” said City of Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes.
The privately funded $18,000,000 attraction brings 70 new jobs, and the city gets a cut of ticket revenues. Bringing the wheel to the downtown skyline was a lengthy process because city zoning for a Ferris wheel didn’t exist.
“That took a lot of work, to really figure out how this fits here,” said Russell.
Skyviews Miami also had to figure out how to open during a pandemic, with masks required and sanitizing stations throughout. Officials also said the gondolas will be wiped down between each use.
“This is also the best time, which is right as we’re recovering and coming out of it,” said Mayor Suarez.