Noise from 130 concrete trucks filled the pre-dawn air Thursday as construction
workers poured the foundation for the 500 foot SkyVue observation wheel across
from Mandalay Bay.
The 5 hour project set the stage for building the 200 million dollar project that will change
the landscape of the southern Las Vegas strip, but the venue won't be open until July 2013.
A spokesman said, "we have to build the wheel first before we build the retail building below."
The retail portion will include 7 food-court options, 5 sit-down restaurants and a dozen stores ranging from clothing outfitters to electronics.
The completed wheel will be difficult for anyone to miss. The towering structure will feature 32
gondolas that each seat 24 people; a 50,000 square foot LED sign will project from the wheel's center.
A 30 minute ride will take visitors 50 feet higher than Mandalay Bay with views facing  north on
the Strip -"the most spectacular view of the Las Vegas Strip."
It won't be the only view in town, though. Caesars Entertainment broke ground last year on its own site dubbed Project Linq which will include a 550 foot observation wheel between the Imperial Palace and Flamingo resorts to be opened in 2013.
Admission to the SkyVue wheel will be about $25 per person. The project will employ about 700 people during construction, followed by 500 full time jobs once the venue opens.
The developers are trying to use as many local contractors and sub-contractors as possible.