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Construction Beginning on the Great Orlando Wheel; Iconic Observation Wheel,
Similar to the London Eye, Going Up Adjacent to the
Orlando - Orange County Convention Center


ORLANDO, Fla. (July 2, 2008) - Hotel occupancy in Central Florida is in for a boost.  A new international landmark will make its home here in the area's thriving International Drive corridor. 

Great Wheel Corporation will begin construction on the Great Orlando Wheel, North America's iconic observation wheel, the company announced last week. Scheduled to open in 2010, the Great Orlando Wheel will tower 400 feet. It will capture the experience of flight with spectacular views spanning 25 miles in all directions. 
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Providing easy access from area accommodations, the Great Orlando Wheel will sit on 20 acres next to the Orlando - Orange County Convention Center, in the heart of the tourism corridor.  Located at 6503 Westwood Boulevard, the giant wheel will be less than five minutes from Interstate 4 and SR 528. The location will be convenient to the Orlando International Airport; downtown Orlando; and the area's world-premier theme parks, hotels and attractions. 

"As one of the world's most popular tourism destinations, Orlando provides the ideal location for North America's first Great Wheel," says Florian Bollen, Chairman of Great Wheel Corporation. "Passengers aboard the Great Orlando Wheel will experience a unique and ever-changing perspective above this vibrant landscape, soaring to heights unattainable anywhere else in the region. 

"This iconic attraction will come to be recognized as a window to Orlando, reflecting the unique culture and landscape of this vibrant destination to the millions of people that visit each year," he continues. 

Florida tops the list of states where people want to vacation in the next two years, according to the Ypartnership/Yankelovich 2008 National Leisure Travel MONITOR.  The Sunshine State was mentioned by nearly two in five leisure travelers. 

The same survey placed Orlando as a Top Five destination for leisure travelers, with more than two in five leisure travelers very interested in visiting 

"By selecting Central Florida as the premier site in North America," Bollen notes, "we're bringing the Great Wheel not just to Orlando, but to the millions of visitors who vacation here each year."

The Great Orlando Wheel is one of several observation wheels currently under development in gateway cities around the globe, including Beijing, Singapore and Berlin. 

The Great Wheel Corporation and Delbruck Bethmann Maffei of Frankfurt, Germany, are providing the financing for the Great Orlando Wheel. BE&K Building Group, Inc., is the general contractor for the flight terminal and site. Morris Architects is responsible for the terminal's architectural, interior and landscape designs. DMS International WBE/MBE, Inc., serves as the owners' representatives and program managers. Currently the project company is in final negotiations with contractors for the Wheel. 

The technical backbone of the Wheel is provided by many of the same companies responsible for the London Eye, the world's largest observation wheel when it was built in 1999 for the millennium celebrations. Today, the Eye is eclipsed by the Singapore Flyer in Asia. The French company POMA will construct the observation capsules. Bosch Rexroth, BV of the Netherlands will manufacture the drive and control systems, while FAG of Germany will supply the bearings. 

Sky Is The Limit

Passengers aboard the Great Orlando Wheel will ride in the comfort of fully enclosed, rotating flight capsules. There will be 24 of these air-conditioned, glass capsules affixed to the Wheel's outer rim to provide unobstructed views.  Measuring approximately 38 x 16 feet, each capsule will carry up to 40 passengers comfortably. Guests will be free to move about the glass cabins to explore unrivalled, 360-degree views, or enjoy a moment of quiet reflection from a plush central seating area. 

During each 30-minute ride, the Wheel will ascend slowly and silently to 400 feet. There at the pinnacle, passengers will enjoy 25-mile panoramic views. Among the highlights:  Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Studios Orlando, bustling downtown Orlando, luxurious hotels and resorts, sparkling lakes, and more. The Great Orlando Wheel will provide dramatic vantage points for watching launches from nearby Kennedy Space Center and nightly displays of fireworks and pyrotechnics unlike anywhere else in North America. 

Surrounding the Great Orlando Wheel will be an 80,848 square-foot flight terminal, housing restaurants, a bar and shops. While the panoramic ride itself will take approximately a half-hour, the flight terminal will provide relaxation and entertainment for visitors awaiting liftoff and serve as a hub for the tour operators in the region. Artistic design elements and an open-air floor plan will convey light and motion throughout the terminal, heightening the excitement of the experience from the moment of arrival. 

"The Great Orlando Wheel will attract visitors and locals, young and old alike," Bollen foresees. "They will come to enjoy one-of-a-kind dining and shopping, with the added benefit of spectacular views.  But on an even greater scale, the Great Orlando Wheel represents a global connection, a shared drive for discovery and innovation."

About Great Wheel Corporation

Great Wheel Corporation is a global venture headquartered in Singapore with offices in London, Berlin, Orlando and Beijing. The goal is to develop, finance, build and operate Great Wheels and other Iconic Viewing Platforms in locations around the world. 

Great Wheel Corporation works closely with companies like Hollandia, Bosch Rexroth, Pomagalski and benefits from their experience in building the London Eye. Key Management of the company have financial and entertainment industry backgrounds. It is the policy of the Great Wheel Cooperation to work together with local partners on the various projects to ensure that political support and local knowledge are obtained. 

For further information, please visit http://www.greatwheel.com

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Contact:

Sharlet Brennan
407-875-1111
sharlet.brennan@ypartnership.com
http://www.greatwheel.com/orlando
 

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