The Singapore flyer is currently the world’s largest observation wheel as of 2008, standing at an impressive 165m in height (42 stories) and sitting on the southeast tip of the Singapore Marina Centre reclaimed land. The wheel faces the entrance of the marina bay and is a sight to behold from any part of the bay area- either when you are just at the bay area or passing by on the ECP highway on Benjamin Sheares bridge you can’t miss this landmark.
The idea of the Singapore Flyer was first conceived around early 2000, before formal planning commenced in 2002 by Singapore Flyer Pte Ltd, which was formed by Melchers Project Management (a German company) and Orient & Pacific management (O&P), each holding 75% and 25% of the company’s stake respectively. It was not until 27 June 2003 when the project was formally announced and endorsed by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the developer and STB with regards to the land-acquisition process to Singapore Flyer Pte Ltd from STB under a 30 year lease from the Singapore Land Authority (SLA).
To aid and facilitate the building of the flyer, the land was made rent-free during the construction phase of the project. Mitsubishi and Takenaka were selected as the main contractors, and Arup as the structural engineer and Jones Lang LaSalle was appointed as the real estate adviser. Despite all these in place, construction however, did not begin due to the lack of funding for the project.
It was not until September 2005, where the project details are finalized and project was revived when funds were successfully sourced from two German banks. Delbrueck Bethmann Maffei (a subsidiary of ABN AMRO, explaining only ABN automated tellers are only present on the flyer site now and none from any other banks), will provide equity to a maximum of S$100 million, with a further S$140 million coming from Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank. This S$240 million injection is the largest single foreign investment in the Singaporean entertainment industry to date.
The wheel began construction by November 2005. The last of the 28 capsules were installed on October 2007 and the wheel started spinning early 2008 with it’s official opening day on 15th April 2008. The wheel operates under the Singapore-founded company Great Wheel Corporation.
Despite it’s remote and isolated location by the bay front, there are a variety of options to get you there.
The Singapore Flyer is located just at the fringe of town. If you are driving, it takes you about 5 minutes to get there from the Central Business District (CBD), 10 minutes from Orchard Road and 20 minutes from Changi Airport. There is a sheltered car park with 280 lots linked to the main building via a sheltered aero bridge. For those commuting, there are bus services to the area as well, not to mention regular free Shuttle Bus from City Hall MRT. This carkpark will also serve a future underground link to the Promenade MRT Station which is slated to be opened by 2010.
Commuting and shuttle services
Walking can be an option for those commuting, the nearest MRT (city hall) is about a 15 minute walk away along the roadside by Raffles Avenue. Otherwise, you can hop onto a free shuttle, simply cross over Coleman Street to the bus stop next to St. Andrew’s Cathedral (bus stop between St. Andrew’s Cathedral and The Adelphi).
The schedule is as follows:
- Suntec City (bus stop outside Suntec City Convention Centre)
- Millennia Walk (Bus stop in front of Burger King)
- DFS @ Galleria Scotts (Orchard)
- Singapore Flyer
You can’t miss the open top (non air-conditioned) fun city sightseeing buses used to transport visitors to and out of the flyer premises. In addition to the external shuttle route, the shuttles goes at 20 minutes intervals 7.30pm – 11pm daily between City Hall MRT and the flyer itself.
Next I will cover the sights at the flyer itself.
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- Page 1/3 » Background of the Singapore flyer observation wheel
- Page 2/3 » First impressions, entering the compound
- Page 3/3 » The sights, Singapore GP, Marina barrage and city skyline