On one end of the Strip, a giant wheel takes shape; on the other, a construction site sits quiet

A view of SkyVue observation wheel under construction near Mandalay Bay Tuesday, July 2, 2013.

Las Vegas Observation Wheels Under Construction

A view of SkyVue observation wheel under construction near Mandalay Bay Tuesday, July 2, 2013. Launch slideshow »

SkyVue Observation Wheel

The foundation for the SkyVue observation wheel across from Mandalay Bay is poured Thursday, March 1, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Skyvue project

An artist's rendering of the Skyvue complex near Mandalay Bay on the Las Vegas Strip. Launch slideshow »

Little action is taking place at the construction site for SkyVue, a 500-foot observation wheel and shopping-dining plaza being built across the street from Mandalay Bay.

Construction workers rarely, if ever, are there. No changes have been made to the structure in months. The most noticeable movement at the site are dust clouds blowing between two towering columns that stand untouched.

Though developers announced the $300 million development in 2011, progress appears to have stalled. There has been no construction on the lot for several months.

But ask the men behind the project about it and they say everything is fine. Despite rumors of collapsed finances and cold feet, they insist that SkyVue is very much alive.

“We are still moving forward,” said David Gaffin, a project partner working with developer Howard Bulloch, who was not available for comment. “We anticipate construction to resume in the next couple of months.”

Clark County Commissioner Mary Beth Scow said she has heard the 140,000-square-foot development is on track. She hopes that’s true.

“We want to see it finished,” Scow said.

The project was supposed to bring 700 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs to the area.

Scow ran into the developers about a month or so ago, she said, but their conversation was informal.

“I don’t think there has been any absolute communication,” said Scow, who expects to see more of Gaffin and Bulloch this summer, when several of their building permits expire. “This summer will tell us a lot.”

The project has a history of rocky financing. In February 2012, Specialty Mortgage Corp. of Reno filed a $31.4 million foreclosure against SkyVue. The action followed a failed debt restructuring. Bulloch paid off the loans to stop the foreclosure, he said at the time.

Then in late 2012, several subcontractors filed liens against the owners, demanding $5.4 million in unpaid bills. The liens prompted construction to stop, giving Bulloch time to line up financing.

All of the contractors, including general contractor Ledcor Construction, later asked the county to discharge the liens, saying the bills had been paid.

In January, Bulloch said construction again was progressing, but much of the work was being done behind the scenes.

He said two 26,000-pound bearings were being fabricated in Germany. He described the journey of the wheel’s giant axel and yokes, which weigh 350,000 pounds together, from Arizona to Las Vegas. He also mentioned a summer return of a construction crane.

Linq Project Underway

Construction workers are seen during a media tour of the Linq project Wednesday, July 25, 2012. Launch slideshow »

But SkyVue has been without a crane since September 2012.

The project has fallen far behind the pace of Caesars Entertainment’s $550 million Linq, which will feature the 550-foot Vegas High Roller, expected to be the world’s largest observation wheel.

Construction on Caesars' wheel between the Flamingo and Quad is going gangbusters. The wheel is taking shape, and company officials already have booked most of the Linq’s retail and dining tenants.

Clark County commissioners approved the Linq project in August 2011. Construction began the following month.

Work on SkyVue started four months earlier.

Rumors floating around town indicate the Linq’s strong financial backing and growing list of tenants may have scared away SkyVue investors, who might now question whether two observation wheels is one too many.

Gaffin, despite repeated requests, would not comment about the rumors.

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