LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - A 500-foot Ferris wheel, which would be the tallest in the Western Hemisphere, may be built on the famed Las Vegas strip, officials said.
A developer won permission to construct the Ferris wheel as the centerpiece of an amusement park and retail center planned for a vacant plot of land on the Strip, opposite the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
If built, it would be the third-tallest Ferris wheel in the world and, at 500 feet, would be the maximum allowed by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
The site is less than half a mile from McCarran International Airport, where more than 35 million passengers land every year.
Developer Howard Bulloch got the green light for the project from Clark County commissioners on Wednesday.
The idea behind the Ferris wheel, according to Bulloch's attorney Ed Garcia, is to offer "a very unique view of the Las Vegas Strip."
Bulloch has not disclosed the financial backers of the project but hopes to have it built in 18 to 24 months, Garcia said.
The 541-foot (165 meter) Singapore Flyer is the tallest operating Ferris wheel in the world, followed by the 525-foot (160 meter) Star of Nanchang in China. The London Eye, on the banks of the Thames River, reaches 443 feet.
Reporting by Timothy Pratt, Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Greg McCune