One of largest sky wheels in the world now part of Pigeon Forge - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

One of largest sky wheels in the world now part of Pigeon Forge

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Great Smoky Mountain Wheel - Pigeon Forge Great Smoky Mountain Wheel - Pigeon Forge
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PIGEON FORGE (WRCB) - Chattanooga's tourism rival in Tennessee has a new look to its skyline. A new development there now features a 200 feet-tall sky wheel, the same size of the famous wheel in Paris, France.

Called the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, it is the center piece of The Island in Pigeon Forge, a new multipurpose development. The company says the wheel is one of the tallest attractions east of the Mississippi.

The attraction opened on Friday and includes 42 glass climate-controlled gondolas that seat up to 8 guests in each. The ride lasts about 20 minutes each.

The Island in Pigeon Forge is a new retail and entertainment center in Pigeon Forge.  It features restaurants, shopping, and attractions. The Island in Pigeon Forge will open in phases, with Phase 1 featuring established eateries, attractions and shops. Phase 2 will begin construction in the fall with an anticipated spring 2014 opening and is set to feature a show fountain and 132 room four star hotel.

The development is located on property that was originally slated to be called Belle Island, according to WBIR-TV in Knoxville.  It was supposed to be a large shopping and entertainment district, but its original developers filed for bankruptcy. 

Developers Darby Campbell and Bob McManus, partners in LeConte Village LLC., purchased the former Belle Island property from Regions Bank for $10 million dollars in November 2011.

The wheel in Pigeon Forge is twice the size of the Santa Monica Pier wheel which stand 90 feet; it is about the same size as the famous Roue de Paris in Paris, France which is also 200 feet high. However, the Pigeon Forge wheel is half the size of the famous "London Eye" which stands 443 feet.

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