369 people want a piece of the floating resort

SHARE 369 people want a piece of the floating resort

The startup company proposing a resort on a 300-by-100-foot floating vessel out in Lake Michigan is doubling its Kickstarter goal after obtaining the initial $30,000 amount in the first 36 hours of the campaign.

“I was expecting a lot of interest, but I’m totally overwhelmed,” said Beau D’Arcy, a Plainfield native who lives in Lincoln Park and is president of the 1-year-old Breakwater Chicago company backing the $23 million project.

The resort, also called Breakwater Chicago, would be anchored about 1 mile east of Lake Point Tower starting next summer if the ambitious project gets off the ground.

The Kickstarter campaign began at 8 a.m. Tuesday, and had attracted $33,269 in pledges from 369 donors by noon Friday. The average pledge was around $90. Ten of the Kickstarter supporters paid $500 each for lifetime VIP cards to the resort. “We sold those 10 VIP cards almost immediately,” D’Arcy said.

The initial goal was to raise $30,000 by July 10. Now, the goal is to raise $60,000 by the time the Kickstarter campaign ends at 8:01 a.m. on July 10, D’Arcy told the Sun-Times.

Breakwater Chicago wants to anchor the 50,000-square-foot vessel — it will look like a ship enclosed in wintertime under a transparent dome — about 1.25 miles off of the Chicago shoreline next summer.

For about $20, adults could go to the site to swim in a swimming pool, eat at new restaurants, relax at a spa or lounge on sun decks. Children would get in for an as-yet-undetermined lower price. The idea is to create an alternative to driving or boating to harbor towns such as New Buffalo or South Haven, Michigan.

Water taxis would take people to the resort, and people would be able to dock boats at 30 slips at the site for $25 an hour.

None of the retailers or restaurants on the site has been identified, but D’Arcy says the plan is to have at least one experienced Chicago restaurant company help create one of the eateries. The structure could hold 2,850 people at one time, and would operate from about 8 a.m. until midnight during weekdays.

“We plan to offer everything from sunrise yoga to lunch service to a sunset dinner,” D’Arcy said.

D’Arcy, 33, and company co-founders Ashvin Lad, 40, and Elizabeth Bell, 32, all MBA grads who met through mutual friends, intend to finance the resort with $7 million in equity, $14 million in debt financing and $2 million in working capital.

Even if they meet their financial goals, the project would have to meet a long list of federal, state and city requirements ranging from safety to public health to noise restrictions.

Why a floating resort could be the next Navy Pier

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