Benches under tree next to river.

A new developer has a unique idea to put a twist in your retirement lifestyle. River Cities plans to launch a floating retirement condominium community that will travel over 6,600 miles of river and inland waterways throughout the United States.

Imagine a lifestyle where you wake up every morning in a new city or along a new bend in one of the country’s beautiful networks of rivers. The idea is the brainchild of David Nelson and if everything works out according to his plan, his boat, The Marquette, will set sail a couple years from now.

David Nelson has been a contractor and developer in commercial, residential and marine construction for the last 29 years. For the past 19 years, David and his wife Renae have lived aboard a boat on the Mississippi River based out of St. Paul, MN. His life in the Army, Peace Corps and his experiences with the St. Paul live aboard community have been instrumental in developing his revolutionary concept of a floating retirement city. “When people see where my wife Renae and I live, they often tell us of their dream to live on a boat and to cruise the entire length of the beautiful Mississippi,” says Nelson.

The repeated interest in a life on the river sparked Nelson’s decision to start River Cities. When The Marquette launches, David and Renae plan to live aboard the vessel as full time residents.

The boat will travel the northern waterways in the summer and southern waterways in the winter months. The boat is not age-restricted but it has been most appealing to people age 48 and older, according to Nelson.

At 600 feet long and 108 feet wide, The Marquette will be the largest inland passenger vessel in the world. The vessel will consist of 4 barges tethered together for normal navigation on the river. The boat can be temporarily divided into sections when traveling through locks or narrow sections of waterway. The entire boat is expected to have 180 units with an estimated 350-400 residents at full capacity.

All units will have exterior views with balconies and range in size from 528 to 924 square feet. Buyers can choose from full or partial ownership. Partial owners live aboard the vessel in alternating 4 month periods. For full ownership, prices currently range from $300,000 to $500,000 and annual operating expenses from $13,200 to $23,100.

The Marquette will offer a variety of services to its residents including concierge, theater, activity rooms, library, fitness center, pool, walking track and chapel. In addition, shore services such as bus, car and scooter rental will be available at the various stops along the way.

So far, the success of the project remains to be seen. According to Nelson, the vessel is at least two years from launching. Because the entire boat consists of 4 separate barges, the boat can actually launch when 2 of the boats are sold and the remaining 2 will join when they sell out. Construction will not begin until around 80 of the units are sold. At this time, the project is approximately 10 percent sold.

For more information about the project please visit or contact the developer at 1-866-891-2503.