Revealed: The $250million glass gondolas in Chicago set to allow tourists to soar 170 feet in the air over the river and cityscape 

  • The Chicago SkyLine will transport 3,000 tourists each hour over the Chicago River in transparent aerial cable cars 
  • The innovative pods would connect Navy Pier, the Chicago Lakefront, and the Riverwalk with downtown Chicago 
  • It aims to offer great views of nearby popular landmarks, and seeks to help the busy city cut its dependence on cars

They like the high life in Chicago - there are 44 towers there over 600 feet tall - so a new $250million gondola system planned for the city centre should prove to be very popular.

Renderings for the stunning attraction, called the Chicago SkyLine, were released this week and show how glass pods will take 3,000 tourists an hour high above the Chicago River. 

If given the go-ahead, the Chicago SkyLine would connect Navy Pier, the Chicago Lakefront and the Riverwalk with downtown Chicago, offering spectacular views for those who use it.

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Plans for the Chicago SkyLine were revealed this week, showing glass pods carrying 3,000 tourists an hour both ways over the Chicago River

Plans for the Chicago SkyLine were revealed this week, showing glass pods carrying 3,000 tourists an hour both ways over the Chicago River

The glass pods would be in operation all year long, moving visitors at 800ft per minute across the waterway in 30-minute sessions

The glass pods would be in operation all year long, moving visitors at 800ft per minute across the waterway in 30-minute sessions

If given the go-ahead, the Chicago SkyLine would connect Navy Pier, the Chicago Lakefront, and the Riverwalk with downtown Chicago, offering spectacular views for those who use it

If given the go-ahead, the Chicago SkyLine would connect Navy Pier, the Chicago Lakefront, and the Riverwalk with downtown Chicago, offering spectacular views for those who use it

The innovative 'gondolas' have been designed in a collaboration between Davis Brody Bond and Marks Barfield Architects, who hope the SkyLine will be part of a new vision for Chicago. 

They hope to make the feature environmentally friendly so tourists can explore nearby popular spots like Millennium Park and Michigan Avenue without the use of cars and reduce the city's carbon footprint.

The glass pods would be in operation all year long, including in evenings, moving visitors at 800ft per minute across the waterway in 30-minute sessions. 

Guests would be given a completely new perspective of the city, witnessing landmarks like the 1,127ft-tall John Hancock Center and the corn-cob-shaped Marina City towers, around 17 storeys above street level.

The cost of a journey in the domes is estimated to be comparable to tickets for the nearby observation areas such as the Willis Tower, which are around $20 (£13.80). 

If the plans are approved, designers estimate that the aerial cars would lure 1.4million visitors a year to the city, but could cost $250million (£170million) to bring into fruition. 

The cost of a journey in the domes is estimated to be comparable to tickets for the nearby observation areas such as the Willis Tower, which are around $20 (£13.80)

The cost of a journey in the domes is estimated to be comparable to tickets for the nearby observation areas such as the Willis Tower, which are around $20 (£13.80)

If the plans are approved, designers estimate that the aerial cars would lure 1.4 million visitors a year to the city

If the plans are approved, designers estimate that the aerial cars would lure 1.4 million visitors a year to the city

UK-based director David Marks, who was one of the designers behind the London Eye on the River Thames, remarked: 'The Chicago SkyLine could do for Chicago what the London Eye has done for London and become a very identifiable landmark within the city, driving tourism and prosperity.

'Gently fitting in and standing out at the same time, it will allow local people and visitors alike to appreciate the city and its world-class architecture from a completely new perspective, stimulating Chicago's tourism industry.

'Its design touches the ground lightly and with an environmentally sensitive and delicate presence - like jewels in a necklace - energising the city's Riverwalk, and attracting the eyes of the world.'

Steven Davis, Partner at Davis Brody Bond, said: 'We realised that without creating an innovative mode of transport, directly connecting the Loop with Navy Pier, we would leave a trove of potential visitors untapped. The SkyLine is the embodiment of that idea.'

The plans were revealed on May 3 by visionaries Laurence Geller, chairman and CEO of Geller Capital Partners, and Lou Raizin, founder of Broadway in Chicago.

Currently the project is in its initial stages, and would need local approval to go ahead.

The designers hope to make the Chicago SkyLine environmentally-friendly so tourists can explore nearby popular spots like Millennium Park and Michigan Avenue without the use of cars

The designers hope to make the Chicago SkyLine environmentally-friendly so tourists can explore nearby popular spots like Millennium Park and Michigan Avenue without the use of cars

 

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