Chicago lakefront project looks to bring more young people to water

A Chicago entrepreneur has an interesting project on the drawing boards for Lake Michigan.

Beau D’Arcy has unveiled ambitious plans for Breakwater Chicago, a floating city about a mile off the city’s shores.

The estimated price tag for the project is $23 million. D’Arcy is looking to jumpstart funding with a $30,000 Kickstarter campaign that launched Tuesday.  As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 300 backers had pledged more than $26,000.

Lou Sandoval of Karma Yacht Sales, who is on the advisory board for the proposed venture, first brought it to my attention.

The Chicago Tribune has the lowdown:

Breakwater, he said, would provide a welcome respite to Chicago boaters who have few options for entertainment on the water. The yacht-less would also be welcome aboard the attraction, which is slated to be about a football field in length and 100 feet across. D’Arcy said that for about $20, visitors would be able to ride a water taxi out to the floating island and enjoy its shops, eateries and pool.

 He envisions opening early in the morning for sunrise yoga and fitness classes, hosting business lunches at midday and then welcoming tourists and revelers to the site in the afternoons and evenings. The bottom of the vessel, he said, would contain a coral habitat designed to benefit the lake.

I see a lot of potential problems and roadblocks before this can actually happen from financial to regulatory, as detailed in the Tribune article, but it’s a creative way to get more people on the water, at least.

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  1. I wonder how this “so-called island” is going to handle Lake Michigan’s storms and waves? What’s going to happen when the lake freezes over?

    1. Thought the same thing Captain Conlyn. I reckon rough waters ahead for these folks. Saw a few articles on this “idea.” Nothing more than a proof of concept in a growing market. They’re forecasting completion by summer 2015. I’ll believe it when I see it.

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