HUSS Park Attractions has announced that work on the construction of a new major observation tower at Weymouth, Dorset, is now underway. The German ride manufacturer is building the tower for the UK’s Merlin Entertainments and it is expected to be ready in time for this year’s Olympic sailing events, which will take place in Weymouth and nearby Portland.
The tower is to be built on Weymouth’s Festival Pier and will reach heights of 53 metres, with 360 degree panoramic views over the English Channel and the surrounding countryside.
A 12 metre, rotating ‘gondola’ with floor-to-ceiling glass walls will be capable of accommodating 70 guests, including those with disabilities and wheelchair users. The gondola will rotate around the tower as it ascends and descends.
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Work on the foundations of the tower began in January with an official ceremony and it is thought that construction will involve the use of 29, 60-centimetre concrete piles, which will be sunk to 17 metres in order to provide a watertight barrier for the foundations.
Once work is completed, the structure will weigh around 130 metric tons.
Merlin Entertainments has made a substantial investment of around £3.5 million in the project and will be operating the attraction. UK-based Merlin is the second biggest attractions operator in the world.
Huss Park Attractions provide observation towers in a range of sizes up to 150 metres; they have successfully manufactured and installed almost 20 other towers around the world. These include the famous ‘Tiger Tower’ in Singapore and two more towers recently completed in China are expected to open soon.
Mirko J. Schulze, CEO of Huss Park Attractions GmbH, said: “It is the first time we have worked with Merlin Entertainments and the whole team is delighted to be part of this important and prestigious project”.
Inspired by the spectacular success of the London Eye
“Everyone at HUSS is working very hard to ensure everything is done in accordance with the client’s wishes and to ensure their full satisfaction. Fabrication of the tower itself and gondola is finished and delivery to Weymouth started on time in early March 2012.”
“We are happy to have established this challenging starting point with Merlin and are looking forward to seeing the HUSS Sky Tower in operation for this major event.”
HUSS are based in Bremen, Germany and have offices in the UK, the US, China, Korea and India.
“The decision to develop the Weymouth SEA LIFE Tower was in part inspired by the spectacular success of the London Eye and subsequent expansion of the Eye brand to also encompass the famous Blackpool and Sydney Towers,” said Craig Dunkerley, General Manager at Merlin.
“We realised there was also an opportunity to develop a network of smaller-scale observation attractions in regional locations where we already operate other successful attractions, which is also in line with our policy of clustering attractions to benefit from cross-marketing opportunities and shared management.
“Weymouth was the logical location to host the first of what we hope will become another global network because it already hosts a successful and still-growing SEA LIFE attraction and also because of its location within the Jurassic Coast world heritage site. The choice of Weymouth to host the sailing events in the forthcoming Olympics merely reinforced this decision and prompted us to go ahead with the project to have the Tower in situ’ this summer.
“Having decided on the location, we looked at the supplier options and because of its experience in the field and excellent reputation within the industry, Huss was the natural choice. They have done everything they promised and as we required and in fact we are bang on schedule to deliver the finished attraction on time, and possibly even a little bit sooner.”