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Breakwater, the Lake Michigan party barge, is still in the works

Zach Long
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Zach Long
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Remember when a group of investors launched a Kickstarter for a man-made party island that would bring dining, music and revelers to Lake Michigan? After raising more than $60,000 in 2014, we've heard very little about the project, which is called Breakwater, until last week, when its Twitter account began sharing renderings (included above and below) of the floating entertainment complex. The design of the project has evolved a bit but still features all of the major elements included in its initial proposal, including plenty of space for docking boats, multiple swimming pools and curvy structures where guests will be able to drink and enjoy meals.

Photograph: Courtesy Breakwater Chicago

In a statement to Curbed Chicago, a PR representative for Breakwater said, "We've had our heads down working through design and engineering for a while now, but things continue to move along nicely." Though work on the $23 million project seems to be moving forward, the developers have not yet addressed feedback from community leaders following the initial announcement. In a 2014 letter to his constituents, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly said he "questions the wisdom of offering boaters an 'entertainment venue' in Lake Michigan where they can consume alcoholic beverages in a party atmosphere while operating watercraft." Furthermore, the vessel will need to gain the approval of the U.S. Coast Guard before it can hit the lake. In the meantime, anyone who wants to have a few drinks on the lake can just visit Navy Pier.


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