Big wheel: Local manufacturer joins in Las Vegas project

A Grand Junction-based manufacturer better known for building ski lifts will join in a project to erect the world’s largest observation wheel in Las Vegas.

An artist’s conception of the High Roller Observation Wheel planned for Las Vegas shows what the spherical cabins will look like as they rotate around the 550-foot tall wheel. Leitner-Poma of America expects to assemble the 28 cabins for the project at its factory in Grand Junction. (Image courtesy Caesars Entertainment)

Leitner-Poma of America expects to manufacture 28 spherical cabins that will rotate around the 550-foot tall High Roller Observation Wheel.

As many as 40 people will ride in each of the cabins, which will measure 22 feet in diamter and weigh 25 tons. The scale of the observation wheel and its cabins will be larger than the popular London Eye observation wheel.

The High Roller Observation Wheel is the main attraction of a $550 million  project planned for the Las Vegas Strip.

Sigma, a sister company of Leitner-Poma, will design the cabins, as it did for the London Eye. The  cabins will be manufactured and assembled with a majority of American components at the 90,000-square foot Leitner-Poma factory in Grand Junction.

“While a smart business model normally means finding the very best value for our dollar, in the state of this economy, Leitner-Poma of America feels strongly that investing in U.S. made parts and hiring people locally to make this project a reality is an investment in our country’s future,” said Rick Spear, president of Leitner-Poma of America. “The manufacturing of these cabins is expected to bring an expansion of the LPOA state-of-the-art factory in Grand Junction and create new jobs for Colorado’s Western Slope.”

The High Roller Observation Wheel will take riders on a 30-minute ride inside cabins equipped with eight flat screen televisions and an iPod docking station, allowing passengers to ride with the music of their own choosing. Individual cabins will also be available for advance bookings to celebrate birthdays, bachelor or bachelorette parties and even weddings.

The round modules will provide riders with a panoramic view of the Vegas Strip and surrounding area. 

“Leitner Poma will be again setting new standards in the USA,” Spear said. “This giant observation wheel will change the face of Las Vegas and will for sure be the icon that all people use to relate to the city.

“We are also making our mark in New York City with the installation of a 1.5 megawatt wind turbine on the shore of the Hudson River in New Jersey that will be very visible from Wall Street. This will be a statement for change that is taking place in our great country as we reclaim manufacturing and aggressively seek new opportunities by generating alternative energy.”

The High Roller Observation Wheel is part of the Linq retail, dining, entertainment and hospitality district Caesars Entertainment has plans to locate at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.