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Breaking News: Richard Branson Buys Navy Pier

Chicago Hotel

We thought Texas would secede from the United States before this happened: Richard Branson has purchased Navy Pier and has big plans for an island paradise.


You heard right. The Virgin mogul plans to float Navy Pier into the lake and build an upper deck landing strip for Virgin Air. Below? He envisions the Dubai of Lake Michigan. From Virgin Casino to high-end private villas (Bono and Oprah have already committed), the island will host those sick and tired of Chicago’s gridlock and high parking fees. Richard says Virgin won’t allow cars on the island, but they’ll offer complementary Segways and his proprietary electric roller skates to help the elite get around.


Since no zoning or planning commission meetings are required on the open sea, Richard expects construction to begin soon and to be phased over the next five years. Beyond that, he’s developing technology to make “Virgin Territory” (the real estate development’s new name) a movable island. States surrounding the lake (Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan) will finance the venture in anticipation of the extra tourism revenue as the Virgin island floats around the lake’s shores. When we asked Mayor Emanuel’s office for comment, his press secretary refused to add fuel to any silly story written on April 1.

Related Topics: Mayor Emanuel, Navy Pier