Entrepreneur Plans Floating Entertainment Vessel in Lake Michigan

Breakwater Chicago would offer retail stores, dining, a party venue and a public pool, developer says

A floating barge about a mile off Chicago's shore will give residents and tourists a whole new way to experience Lake Michigan and views of the city skyline, if the entrepreneur can get his vision built.

Beau D'Arcy said the concept, if funded, could be afloat within 13 months.

A fundraising campaign through Seed Chicago, a Kickstarter initiative launched through a partnership between World Business Chicago, Accion Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, launched Tuesday.

D'Arcy estimates the project -- which will ultimately offer retail stores, dining, a party venue and a public pool -- will cost about $23 million. He said he has nearly $1 million already saved for the project, which he said would create 200 full-time and 200 part-time jobs and would welcome more than 760,000 annual visitors.

"I was working in Las Vegas and realized that daytime entertainment was something that Vegas had done very well, and other cities as well, and Chicago was missing some of that," the 33-year-old Lincoln Park resident says in a promotional video.

D'Arcy, a Harvard Business School alum, said the floating vessel measuring about 300 feet by 100 feet would operate year round. During the winter months, a removeable dome would create a greenhouse effect that would keep visitors warm enough to sunbathe.

At least two smaller-scale barge destinations already exist in the U.S.: the Tiki Barge Pool Club and Bar in Baltimore and the Floating Pool Lady near the Bronx in New York, Crain's Chicago Business reminded.

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