ORLANDO, Fla. -

Construction will soon begin on the base of the Orlando Eye, a giant observation wheel that will rival the world-famous London Eye, the developer said on Thursday.

[PICS: I-Drive Live construction plans | [RELATED:  Ken Pilcher's blog]

The 425-foot wheel, a focal point of a major project on International Drive in the heart of the tourist district of Orlando, is slated to open by Thanksgiving 2014, developer Chuck Whittall said.

The project, called I-Drive Live, will also include Madame Tussauds, an aquarium and several restaurants.

Whittall said the first phase of the project, consisting mostly of restaurants and retail shops, is expected to be completed by Spring 2014.

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