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Pier Ferris Wheel Going, Going, Gone

By Lookout Staff

April 29 -- The Santa Monica Pier’s iconic Ferris wheel is headed for Oklahoma, after a real estate developer in the Sooner state picked up the 90-foot tall, 122,000-pound Ferris wheel for $132,400 on eBay.

Grant Humpreys, the 32-year-old son of a former Oklahoma City mayor and father of four, placed the winning bid for the wheel owned by Pacific Park just before the two-week online auction closed at noon last Friday.

Humpreys, who made his first purchase on eBay sight unseen, was one of six bidders who placed 35 bids in an auction that generated 9,342 watchers and 400,000 page views, according to officials of Pacific Park, the two-acre seaside amusement park on the historic pier.

The real estate developer plans to incorporate the wheel -- which has appeared in some 300 movies, photo shoots, commercials, TV shows and music videos -- into an Oklahoma City mixed-use commercial/residential community, an official at Humpreys’ real estate office told the press.

According to reports, the final price for the big wheel jumped nearly $50,000 during the last 10 minutes of the sale.

Humpreys must pick up the shipping cost and kick in an additional $135,000 for a supporting base.

Fifty percent of the winning bid will be donated to Special Olympics Southern California, Pacific Park officials said.

The wheel, which originally cost approximately $800,000, will be replaced with an all-new $1.5 million solar-powered wheel with 160,000 energy-efficient LED lights. Installation of the new wheel begins May 5 with a grand opening community celebration scheduled for the evening of Thursday, May 22.

Installed 12 years ago, the current wheel with 5,392 red, white and blue traditional light bulbs that flicker on its spokes and hub, has provided more than 3 million rides and become a Southern California icon. The Wheel’s 20 gondolas accommodate as many as 600 riders per hour.

The Pacific Wheel debuted May 1996 with the opening of Pacific Park and was adapted as the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel in November 1998. The nine-story Pacific Wheel was later selected “Best Solar System” in the Reader’s Digest Best in America 2006.





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