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This could be the largest crowdfunding project of all time

September 8, 2015

Facebook Lights Up The London Eye With The Nation's General Election ConversationsFacebook Lights Up The London Eye With The Nation's General Election Conversations
Facebook lights up the London Eye with the nation's general election conversations. On Election Day, the London Eye shows discussion of the main political parties on Facebook at London Eye on May 7, 2015 in London, England.Photograph by Tim P. Whitby—2015 Getty Images

Some people think the New York skyline is missing something London has—a gigantic Ferris wheel—and they’re doing something about it. Dubbed the “New York Wheel,” the project is already underway in Staten Island and will be 630-feet tall, 187 feet taller than London’s.

The New York Wheel, led by the former investment banker and chief executive Rich Marin, has raised $450 million so far, but needs around $30 million more, a number that it’s looking to achieve through equity crowdfunding. Equity crowdfunding, unlike a simple Kickstarter that gives you a service, turns donors into investors with actual ownership, something that has only recently been possible thanks to loosening of investing regulations by the JOBS act, which allowed non-accredited investors to get in on startup action. The group tasked with crowdfunding the rest of the project’s budget, North Capital Private Securities, is chiefly using the site 99Funding to sell shares, as well as through traditional brokers.

“[This] is going to be the largest transaction we’re aware of that has crowdfunding,” North Capital’s CEO Jim Dowd told The New York Times.

Around $345 million of the money Marin has raised so far comes from loans, $195 million of which he took out at 10.25% interest. The project borrowed another $150 million was borrowed at 2.75%. Exposing lower-income investors to high-risk investing was the main criticism against the JOBS act, presumably because they’re less educated about risk and more sensitive to losing money. Still, equity crowdfunding is a growing trend.

If the project is realized, there will be an outlet mall nearby.