Floating Barge Will Feature Entertainment
By Ken Hare
Chicago Defender Staff Writer
A new floating entertainment center seeks to create that “Catalina” vibe just off the shores of Lake Michigan. Catalina Island, a group of islands 22 miles south of Los Angeles, is a popular boating excursion just off the coast of California. Breakwater LLC, a partnership formed by some very forward thinking entrepreneurs want to bring some of that same upscale chic to Chicago – via a floating entertainment complex – off the shores of the Loop.
The complex would house three restaurants, swimming pools, a bar and lounge, health and wellness spa and retail shopping amongst others. Beau D’Arcy, President and CEM Officer, first came up with the idea in 2012 after interning at the Venetian Resort Hotel, Las Vegas, NV, according to his website. The company had a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign raising 60K and is now in its design phase.
Although the idea appears to be cutting edge, the idea of floating entertainment isn’t new. Simone Bouyer and Stephanie Coleman, two Black entrepreneurs were not only the first Blacks but one of the first businesses period to open up on north Clybourn in the mid-80’s long before gentrification. The two hosted Holsum Roc, an art gallery/cafe that hosted exclusive art shows and renown poetry slams before half a million dollar townhouses and chic boutiques began to spring up many years later.
They came up with the idea to do an ArtBarge, a floating art gallery and entertainment venue on the Chicago river back in the early 90’s. It was so ahead of its time that local officials couldn’t grasp the potential and didn’t appreciate art as a transformative force at that time, and weren’t all that supportive. After running into countless hurdles, Simone and Stephanie eventually abandoned the idea for other ventures.
Nowadays, the city has virtually borrowed the idea and expanded on it as it seeks to create a vibrant corridor along the northern branch of the Chicago River starting at Wolf Point travelling north. The city of Chicago has appeared to have awakened from its decades-long slumber and neglect of such a crucial and important asset – its water supply – particularly the river.
Stay tuned as water begins to take the front stage – not only in Chicago but worldwide – for good and for bad. After all, this is the Age of Aquarius.