SAN DIEGO -- A waterfront Ferris wheel proposed for San Diego’s Embarcadero may not break ground because it could create obstruction issues for aircraft.
In a memo released Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration said the 443-foot Discovery Point Ferris Wheel project would be an obstruction hazard to flights in and out of San Diego. The memo’s initial findings also show the wheel could create electromagnetic instrument interference.
However, the memo said a proposed structure that was 277-feet or under would be something the agency could approve. A higher structure may be possible but would need further study.
The wheel would be located just south of the USS Midway, on what is a parking lot. There are currently three proposals being looked at.
“You can see the sky, the Coronados, and Mexico and then all of this really comes home to you,” said real estate developer David Malmuth.
Malmuth is one of the developers submitting a proposal. His project would take riders 400 feet in the air and next to the wheel, a 30,000-square foot educational pavilion would highlight San Diego’s history. He said he is not surprised by the FAA’s recommendations.
“We want to know with more specificity what are the concerns that they have and they also suggested that if we want to go taller there has to be a public process which we certainly anticipated was going to be part of the case,” said Malmuth.
Malmuth said the FAA report is expected and all a part of the process. He said in the end, the Ferris wheel would be a wonderful addition to San Diego’s skyline.
“We’d expect people to have strong opinions and we’ve heard strong opinions in favor and against, and that’s just how these kinds of projects ultimately get shaped,” Malmuth said. “You always have to have the courage of your convictions, that’s a balance you’re always trying to strike in our business is to make sure you haven’t lost that thing that makes this project so special and worthwhile.”
The Port Of San Diego will meet with the three developers Feb. 10.