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Breakwater floating island promises off-shore luxury for Chicago


June 11, 2014

The Breakwater Chicago floating island would function as a entertainment complex with restaurants, bars and a swimming pool

The Breakwater Chicago floating island would function as a entertainment complex with restaurants, bars and a swimming pool

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A Chicago businessman is floating the idea of an artificial island anchored to the bed of Lake Michigan around a mile off-shore. Launching the crowdfunding campaign today, entrepreneur Beau D'Arcy has high hopes for Breakwater Chicago, an urban getaway that promises to pamper city folk with the five-star service of a luxury resort.

The floating entertainment complex would measure 300 ft (91 m) long, 100 ft (30 m) wide, operate as a vessel and be towed 1.1 miles (1.77 km) off-shore in the summertime. During winter, it would be anchored to the shore and enclosed in a clear dome, its pool helping to create a tropical indoor environment a little closer to home.

Though there are still considerable regulatory hoops for D'Arcy to jump through before Breakwater becomes a reality, his team has already spent around two years developing the layout of the island. In addition to swimming, visitors could relax at the day spa, eat and drink at the bars and restaurants, soak up some rays on the sun deck and bust some moves at the nightclub.

The overall cost for Breakwater is expected to top US$20 million. The target for the initial Kickstarter campaign is a comparatively humble $30,000. If successful, these funds will be used to develop an animated 3D video tour of the vessel, helping the team to drum up community interest. From there, it hopes to build a 1:100 scale model of Breakwater to gain support from architects and environmental communities, before ultimately opening for business in time for (northern hemisphere) summer 2015.

You can hear from D'Arcy and his team in the pitch video below.

Source: Kickstarter

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. Having worked for publications such as The Santiago Times and The Conversation, he now writes for Gizmag from Melbourne, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, the city's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches. All articles by Nick Lavars

I think that is really neat. I hope they succeed.


One year away from opening?! It would be difficult enough somewhere where the climate doesn't preclude working all the year round, but this little baby is going to be frozen in, blown in and basically stuck in for many months of the year.

How is it going to be built and do the facilities necessary for its construction already exist? 300 ft x 100 ft is going to require a pretty big dry dock. Failing that, is it going to be launched down a slipway? That would be pretty spectacular (and require a lot of strength to cope with the bending forces generated when the 'bow' is in the water and being supported by it while the 'stern' is still some way up the slipway and supported by it, not the water).

As for the clear dome, it will be interesting to see where it lands if a tornado catches hold of it. (Chicago is not known as windy city for nothing.

Mel Tisdale

Not sure if anyone noticed these have been around for 80 yrs to the bootlegger days and now as party boats, gambling ships, etc.

Fact is where are you going to find cheaper property close to downtown?

I've lived in the most expensive places near free on my boat for 25 yrs and now retiring back to the water. And thinking of a floating village/dock out in Tampa bay wouldn't be hard..


Beautiful location but as I recall from boating in the Chicago area, Lake Michigan is only about 30 feet deep for quite some distance from the shore. The water can be horribly rough there on many days of the summer. I feel safer sailing the ocean than the Great Lakes. Any floating island will have to be incredibly sea worthy with much more freeboard than shown in the picture above. Southern Lake Michigan has one of the highest concentrations of sunken vessels in the world. A small shallow draft cruise ship would make more sense than a man made island and could double as a luxury hotel and casino.


I think part of that $30,000 should be spent on a survey to see how many in the community think they might like to boat on over to the "Breakwater" and at what price.


There are a lot of boaters out on Lake Michigan and they tend to be the spending types who like to drink so I can see this possibly taking off.

Rann Xeroxx

If the water they are going to use is only 30' deep I doubt they would float it.

Just make sure it is outside Chicago's jurisdiction.

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