Updated: 3:20 p.m.
The City of Newport says the U.S. Army of Engineers has approved the permit to construct the Skywheel on the city's riverfront.
A release says the 230-foot tall wheel will be built at Newport on the Levee near the Newport Aquarium. Developer Koch Development, which operates Skywheels in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Panama City Beach, Fla., says construction schedules and logistics are being finalized and construction will begin "as soon as possible."
That construction includes an approximately 13,000-square foot concrete pedestal along the Ohio River bank that will connect to Newport on the Levee via a 40-foot wide plaza extension.
"The Skywheel is going to be a major tourist attraction," Newport City Manager Tom Fromme said in a release. "We expect about 400,000 riders a year. And because the gondolas are climate controlled, the Skywheel can be enjoyed year-round."
Newport Mayor Jerry Peluso said the Skywheel will add to the river city's existing entertainment scene, which includes the construction of a new music venue, scheduled to debut in late 2020. In addition, Levee owners North American Properties of Cincinnati late last year announced a $100 million redevelopment of Newport on the Levee.
On Monday, North American Properties of Cincinnati announced that Barnes & Noble, one of the original tenants of Newport on the Levee, would cease operations Sept. 7. North American Properties says the closing is part of its overall redevelopment plan and was mutually agreed upon.
"Maximizing views of the Ohio River and Cincinnati skyline are integral to our vision for the enlivened experience at Newport on the Levee," Tim Perry, chief investment officer of North American Properties said in a statement. "Reimagining the New Newport on the Levee sometimes requires a clear canvas, and the need to reconsider that building with its impact to the arrival and outdoor experience is critical for a welcoming and magnetically social epicenter."
New tenants for the Barnes & Noble space would come in the following weeks, the statement added.