by Michael J. Shapiro | March 07, 2012

The race to build bigger, better attractions in Las Vegas has become focused on a giant Ferris wheel. Developers poured a concrete foundation last week for SkyVue, a 500-foot-high observation wheel slated to open in July 2013 at the southern edge of the Las Vegas Strip, across from Mandalay Bay. The wheel is designed to provide 32 gondolas, each of which will hold 24 people, for a 30-minute ride that offers views of the skyline. At the center of the wheel will be two 50,000-square-foot high-definition LED multimedia displays. The gondolas will be available for private events and will offer catering services. The SkyVue development also will offer 200,000 square feet of retail space, including a food court, and 20,000 square feet of convention space. Meanwhile, just up the Strip, across from Caesars Palace, Caesars Entertainment has started developing The Linq, a $550 million "urban entertainment district," the centerpiece of which will be the Las Vegas High Roller, a 550-foot observation wheel. The Linq also is expected to debut in the summer of 2013.