New York Wheel developer fires design firm, delaying Staten Island project indefinitely

Plans for the New York Wheel have spun to a halt.

After months of delays, rising costs and a legal dispute, the developer of the Ferris wheel on the North Shore of Staten Island fired the design and construction team at Mammoet-Starneth.

The move, as first reported by the Staten Island Advance, will put the project on hold indefinitely, and it is unlikely the wheel will get off the ground anytime soon.

The developer, New York Wheel Owner LLC, filed a letter in federal court Wednesday stating that it was ending its contract with Mammoet-Starneth. The letter claimed that Mammoet-Starneth acted in poor faith during mediation attempts over the past month.

Several additional contractors will be required to work on the project going forward, and Mammoet-Starneth will need to cooperate with them, the letter indicated.

“The developer has come to the conclusion that the best path forward for this project is to seek other means to take on the remaining aspects of that ‘turnkey’ arrangement,” a spokesperson for the New York Wheel Owner said in a statement.

Mammoet-Starneth declined to comment through a spokesperson. But the firm filed a letter in court Wednesday noting that, now that it no longer has a contract with the developer, the case resembles a “garden variety construction dispute.”

The cost of what has been billed as the largest observation wheel in the Western Hemisphere has ballooned to nearly $600 million. That’s more than twice the initial estimation offered in 2012.

The New York Wheel Owner sued Mammoet-Starneth in May and sought $16 million for damages the developer claimed it accrued due to delays and skyrocketing prices.

Mammoet-Starneth walked off the site and contended it never received required payments from the New York Wheel Owner.

The developer then filed paperwork asking a court to require that Mammoet-Starneth continue working on the project.

The two sides agreed to a 30-day mediation period, which ended Wednesday, when the developer indicated it would search for alternative contractors.

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