Forget the views from the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel or the Willis Tower Observation Deck; a new proposal could have tourists seeing the Chicago Skyline in a whole new way.
Lou Raizin, Laurence Geller, David Brody and Mark Barfield Architects, the design team responsible for the London Eye, have brought their next vision to the Windy City. In a new proposal, the city would install aerial gondolas along the Chicago River, giving visitors a spectacular 17-story high view of Chicago’s famed architecture.
“The Skyline is a prime example of how we can move Chicago from old guard to vanguard,” said Raizin. “We kept coming back to the same question: What’s our unique feature? Where’s our Eiffel Tower? Where’s our Big Ben? These ideas are our attempt to answer this question and are intended to start a conversation in the city about what we would like our reputation to be in the future.”
With Willis Tower falling down the ranks of building heights around the world (ranked No. 2 in the U.S. and No. 14 in the World), Chicago has been looking for the next great attraction that would help to increase tourism. Among international travelers, Chicago ranks as the ninth-most visited city in the U.S., coming in behind New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Orlando, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Honolulu and Washington D.C. respectively.
The city hopes “The Skyline” could do for Chicago what the London Eye did for London. Originally, the Eye was only supposed to last a short while, however, the immense popularity of the attraction turned it into the landmark we know today. The London Eye is now visited by three and a half million people each year, making it seen more annually than even the Great Pyramids of Giza.
Much like the Eye, a trip in the proposed cable cars in Chicago would last 30 minutes, however, with the ability to transport 3,000 passengers every hour, Chicago’s gondolas would be able to service nearly two times the number of people that get to see the aerial views in London.
A representative for the Mark Barfield Architects firm estimates the cost of the project to be $250 million, however, no public money would be earmarked to cover the cost. Furthermore, the expected economic value to the city and local businesses would be $330 million, thanks in large part to the 1.4 million tourists who flock to the city’s shores each year.
No official date has been given for “The Skyline” project, as this preliminary proposal will still need to be approved before anyone is able to take to the skies over Chicago, but we may all soon be able to see the city like never before.
Checkout the video below to see a live rendering of what the aerial cable car system could look like in Chicago.