Preliminary plans have been unveiled for a new aerial cable car tourist attraction for the Windy City. Should the Chicago Skyline proposal be realized, it would transport up to 3,000 people per hour and link Navy Pier, the Chicago Lakefront, the Chicago River Riverwalk, and downtown Chicago.

The Chicago Skyline project was launched by Lou Raizin and Laurence Geller, and is designed by Davis Brody Bond and Marks Barfield Architects, the latter firm behind the London Eye and Brighton i360.

Indeed, the success of the London Eye looms large on this proposal and it's hoped that the Chicago Skyline would similarly boost tourism for Chicago. The same engineering team behind the London Eye (Jacobs) helped develop the concept, while the designer of the British attraction's pods, ride, and drive systems, Leitner-Poma, is slated to build the Chicago project.

The Chicago Skyline would operate year-round into the evenings in all but the most challenging weather conditions. The team also reports that it would be very energy efficient to run, though no further information on this is available yet.

A Marks Barfield Architects representative told us that the project's cost is estimated at US$250 million. No public money would be used and the firm estimates the annual economic benefit to the city at $330 million, including taxes, rent, and tourists' direct and indirect spending in the city, among other factors.

Planning permission for the project will be submitted at an unspecified future date.

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