By Jai-Leen James, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Arkup may be the bridge over Miami Beach’s troubled waters. This U.S.-based housing startup designs Amsterdam-esque houseboats that company owners say can withstand Category 4 hurricanes and rising sea levels.
Founded in 2016 by French pair, Nicolas Derouin and his partner Arnaud Luguet, Arkup is based in Miami. In February, Arkup #1 was debuted at the Miami Yacht Show. This fully loaded, self-sustaining yacht retails for $5.5 million.
“Arkup livable yachts match Miami Beach needs because they are an opportunity to develop sustainable resilient housing solutions on the water, and a realistic alternative to sea-level rise,” Arkup CEO and co-founder Derouin told the Miami Beach Times.
Arkup #1 measures 75 feet in length and features four bedrooms in 2,600-square-feet of indoor space. With terraces and balconies, it is 4,350-square-feet in total. Ceilings range from 8.5 to 9.5 feet in height.
Each home is customizable. A technology-free base model that does not include electric propulsion, solar panels, batteries or hydraulic pilings is available for just under $3 million.
The houseboat can accommodate 6 to 8 people overnight. When chartering, it can carry up to twelve passengers. Arkup provides training so that homeowners are capable of captaining their vessels.
Arkup’s houseboats are designed to be 100 percent solar-powered and has systems for harvesting and purifying rainwater. They’re mobile and able to travel within a range of 20 miles at seven miles per hour. Worried about sea sickness? Each home has four 40-foot hydraulic pylons that can anchor the vessel to the sea floor and stabilize it from tidal movement.
“Over forty percent of the U.S. population live in coastal cities that already are or will be threatened by sea level rise by 2100. Living on the water is a way to adapt and become more resilient,” Derouin said.
According to the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact Sea Level Rise Workgroup, South Florida sea levels are projected to rise 6 to 12 inches by 2030, 14 inches to nearly three feet by 2060 and 31 inches to nearly seven feet by 2100.
“The electric propulsion system allows to cruise silently, without disturbing the marine life. The hull design and anchoring system have also been designed in order to protect marine life/resources and to minimize the impact on the environment,” Derouin added.
In 2018, Arkup was a winner at the French-American Chamber of Commerce Innovation Awards in the “Art de Vivre” category. Partnered with the French Foreign Trade Advisors, the contest recognizes the endeavors of French-American companies based in Florida.
Interested buyers are able to get the full experience of living in a luxury home on the water. A prototype is currently docked on Star Island and is available for rent.
The maximum taxes levied on the sale of a vessel in the State of Florida are $18,000. Property tax do not apply to recreational vessels. However, the annual registration fee for an Arkup yacht is about $150.
“Our ultimate goal is to develop floating community projects that will be cutting-edge in terms of innovation, technology, sustainability and resiliency,” Derouin added.