BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Ferris wheel along the waterfront could open at Buffalo Riverworks as early as May.
The “Buffal-O” will sit on top of the beer garden, on a 15 foot elevated structure.
That structure once held a 200 ft. silo, and engineers are confident it will hold the amusement ride.
The general manager of Buffalo Riverworks properties says the base of the wheel will need more than one million pounds of concrete in order for the ride to withstand strong winds that come off the water.
The handicap-accessible ride will have 18 cars that can hold 72 people at a time. There are removable glass windows on each car, so people can still enjoy it during colder weather.
“If you look forward, if the wheel is sitting counter-clockwise, you’ll see the cityscape and the horizon there, and if you look back, you’ll be able to see the sun setting on the lake,” said Bill Casale, general manager of properties for Buffalo Riverworks said.
The Ferris wheel will be 105 ft. tall and zipliners will zip on either side of it.
Casale says it couldn’t be built bigger because of a city code which forces new buildings to stay at or below the height of surrounding structures.
He hopes it helps to bring visitors back to Riverworks, which has been hit hard in the pandemic.
Pearl Street Grill and Lafayette Brewing Company are also part of the company’s properties. Before the pandemic, they had over 600 employees- now they’re down to about 40, Casale said.
“We’re hoping to bring them back as soon as we can, if they are back- a lot of people have moved onto other careers and industries,” Casale said.
He adds that if plans get city approval, and supplies can be shipped on time, they’re hoping for a May opening. There are plans in the works for a 100 day live music series at Buffalo Riverworks starting in May.
A hot dog cart will be added to the beer garden area this summer as well, and more announcements may come soon.