High-flying deal for Leitner-Poma

A computer-generated image shows the High Roller Observation Wheel, part of the Linq project that Caesar’s Entertainment Corp. is building in Las Vegas. The 28 cabins on the Ferris-like wheel will be built by Leitner-Poma, a subsidiary of Italy-based High Technologies Investments.

Grand Junction-based Leitner-Poma won part of a multimillion-dollar contract to build cabins for what will be the largest observation wheel in the world, the company is to announce today.

The company will build 28 specially designed cabins that can hold as many as 40 people. Each cabin will weigh about 25 tons, and will be designed to stay level as they rotate around a 550-foot diameter High Roller Observation Wheel in Las Vegas.

Leitner-Poma President Rick Spear said his company’s part of the project will take more than two years to complete. He said it will mean more local jobs, but he hesitated to say how many.

“It’s a 28-month project, and it’s as much volume as we do in one year for our whole company here in the U.S.,” Spear told The Daily Sentinel. “We’re going to subcontract locally also, so they’ll add some jobs, but we haven’t determined how much we’re actually going to do here and how much we’re going to subcontract.”

Spear said the company will award those contracts to as many local companies as it can.

The wheel is to be modeled after the iconic London Eye, a 443-foot-high Ferris-like wheel, across the River Thames from Big Ben. The Las Vegas wheel will be larger, but it will have four fewer cabins.

It is to be part of a larger $550 million Linq project that Caesar’s Entertainment Corp. is building in Las Vegas. That project includes retail shops, restaurants, nightclubs and hotel rooms.

Leitner-Poma’s sister company, France-based Sigma, will design the cabins, which are to include such amenities as eight flat-screen televisions and an iPod docking station. The cabins, which take about 30 minutes to travel around the wheel, can be rented for parties.

Sigma designed the cabins for the London Eye, which has become one of that city’s biggest tourist attractions, drawing about 10,000 people a day, according to EDF Energy, the British company that owns it.

The Las Vegas wheel is expected to be completed by the fall of 2013.

“This observation wheel will change the face of Las Vegas and will for sure be an icon that all people use to relate to the city,” Spear said. “The manufacturing of these cabins is expected to bring an expansion of the (Leitner-Poma) state-of-the-art factory in Grand Junction and create new jobs for Colorado’s Western Slope.”

Leitner-Poma, the North American subsidiary of Italy-based High Technologies Investments, is known worldwide for engineering, manufacturing, installing and servicing cable systems such as ski lifts for the ski industry, amusement parks and urban transport.


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