DETROIT-A project to build an aerial gondola across the Detroit River, which would require an amount of property next to the river, is in a holding pattern with city officials. A Canadian developer has proposed to build a $34-million gondola tower, with 365-foot towers to handle 60-cars, across the river.

Niels Jorgensen, president of Skylink International Ltd., met with Walt Watkins, Detroit’s chief development officer in June to discuss the plans. However, no action has been taken since the discussion, says Sylvia Crawford, chief publicist for the city’s planning and development department.

“We’re looking for a feasible location for a station,” Crawford tells

The gondola would link Detroit with Windsor, ON. The two communities are already linked by the Ambassador Bridge and a tunnel.

On the US side, the station was discussed as being built near Ford Auditorium. However, property directly across the river is set aside for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. for a hotel and a bus terminal near Casino Windsor, so Jorgensen wants property elsewhere, Crawford says.

“We’re assisting him in his effort,” she says. “It appears that this idea does have some appeal with the city leaders.”

However, she says the city cannot comment further until a piece of property is found on the Detroit side.

“We have to make sure all aspects are doable. We’re still going through that process. We have to look through various strategies, and make sure the project is working with master land planning for the area,” Crawford says, adding Jorgensen wants to make the gondola a tourist attraction. “We would have to figure out if we need parking and other tourist space.”

Gov. John Engler has already voiced support for the project as promoting links between Michigan and Canada. The project also has support from the Detroit Metro Convention and Tourism Bureau, which believes a gondola would attract up to 1 million visitors to the area.

Jorgensen could not be reached for comment.

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