The Shanghai government has ratified the purchase by a private firm from neighboring Zhejiang Province of use rights for a block of land along the Huangpu River, which has been reserved for construction of the world's tallest ferris wheel.
Zhejiang Huamen Real Estate Group beat Honest State Ltd, an overseas-registered project company, to buy the 35,210 square-meter block for 1.46 billion yuan (US$176 million) by public bidding.
"We started drafting proposals for the project four years ago and we have already chosen one of the seven blueprints for the ferris-wheel project," an official of Zhejiang Huamen surnamed Song told Shanghai Daily.
The winning price paid by Zhejiang Huamen is far above market speculation.
The Shanghai Housing and Land Administrative Bureau set the starting price for bidding at 620 million yuan and Zhejiang Huamen's first bid was 690 million yuan.
"Based on surrounding commercial facilities, the price is higher than market expectations," said Lina Wong, managing director of Colliers International East China, a real estate consulting company.
The design for the ferris wheel that has had most media exposure is called Shanghai Kiss, designed by British architecture firms Alsop and Arup.
"The Arup team is excited about making this landmark contribution to Shanghai's skyline. It is set to become the Eiffel Tower of China – a 21st century icon," Chris Carroll, Arup's project director, said in a press release.
Alsop Director Stephen Pimbley said in the release that "the proposal was inspired by the romance and passion of Shanghai."
"The Kiss is a dynamic object of beauty which will engage constantly and dynamically with the Shanghai cityscape," he said.
Pimbley said the 250-meter-tall sculptural tower is intended to rotate once every 4 hours while a series of visitor pods travel up and around the legs, offering visitors unique and exciting views over the city.
If built, the twisting Shanghai Kiss will unseat London Eye as the world's tallest ferris wheel.
London Eye is the Guinness Book of Records world leader. The wheel, next to the River Thames, is 135 meters tall.
(Shanghai Daily May 2, 2005)