Plans underway for ‘50th anniversary’ celebration at Marina City
Loop North News

MARINA CITY HISTORY

Plans underway for ‘50th anniversary’ celebration at Marina City

  • Event may be the first for not-yet-open Tortoise Club
  • Renters at Marina City need not RSVP

1-Sep-12 – The condo association at Marina City has started planning a celebration of the Chicago icon’s 50th anniversary as a residence. On October 14, 1962, with both towers still under construction, the first tenants moved into the east tower where only three floors were completed. Five weeks later, on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, dignitaries that included the president of DePaul University, the president of Chicago Planetarium Society, and Mayor Richard J. Daley gathered to commemorate the two-year anniversary of Marina City’s groundbreaking.

Portland Cement Association

Few details of the 2012 celebration have been announced but it will likely take place on November 12 at Tortoise Club, an upscale restaurant currently being built at Marina City on the east side of Hotel Sax.

(Left) What Marina City looked like in October 1962 when the first tenant, Louise Hance, moved in. This view from the northwest corner of the property shows an unfinished cross-section of the commercial platform. The east tower is at left. Today, House of Blues would block this view.

Due to limited space at Tortoise Club – the main dining room will seat 140 people while the bar accommodates another 50 – unit owners who attended a recent condo board meeting were told that only owners would be invited to the celebration. The decision has already fueled animosity between owners and renters at Marina City. On Marina Watchdog, a blog for residents, most comments on the celebration supported excluding renters.

“I say screw the renters,” wrote one blogger. “I wish they would ban renting units here. This building should be all owners. Most renters don’t give a damn about this building and [its] history.”

Wrote another, “I agree that only owners should attend the 50th [anniversary] because we are the investors here. It will probably make a big deal about what the place looked like 50 years ago, why it was built in Chicago, etc., and I think renters don’t care about that.”

Members of Marina City’s Facebook Group were more sympathetic. “I understand that they need to be careful about who they invite for space reasons,” posted Holly Lipschultz, “but it makes me sad that some people claim the renters don’t care about this place or its history.”

Another member questioned the use of Tortoise Club for the event. “Why is the building having this party at such a small location, sharply limiting the number of people? It probably should be at one of the larger hotel ballrooms within a block of Marina City.”

Exact figures are not known but in 2007, 45 percent of unit owners did not live at Marina City, suggesting a large population of renters. Notable renters include architecture writer Lynn Becker and architect Lira Luis. Marina City was 100 percent rental property for 15 years – and arguably the most famous apartment building in the world at one time – converting to condominiums in 1977. More than 900 people currently live there.

Tortoise Club owner Keene Addington says he is honored to be chosen to host the event and will donate food and beverages. “We are obviously quite limited in space and the restaurant does not have the accommodations for the 900-plus people that live in the towers, although certainly we’d love to be able to handle a larger number.”

Other events being discussed include lighting Marina City’s towers between 7 and 10 p.m. on November 12, which is Veterans Day. According to Thomas Figel, managing partner of Lake Effect Communications, a media relations firm hired to promote the celebration, Klieg lights – carbon arc lamps used in filmmaking – will illuminate Marina City and each tower will be crowned with golden light.

Tortoise Club crawling toward fall opening

Tortoise Club, meanwhile, is still working toward an opening this fall but no earlier than November. Chef Gray McNally told Eater Chicago last month the restaurant, serving lunch and dinner, will have a “classic Chicago clubhouse feel with dark woods and rich leathers, fabric on the walls, and hard wood floors with area rugs.”

According to Eater, a private dining area will feature vaulted ceilings and a working fireplace. A fireplace was in the original design of Bar Louie, a bar/restaurant on the other side of Hotel Sax, but it was not built.

(Right) A sketch released in February of what the interior will look like at Marina City’s Tortoise Club. Tortoise Club

A Chicago artist, Chuck Senties, is working on ten large oil-painted caricatures of famous, colorful Chicagoans like Cap Streeter that will decorate the Tortoise Club interior.

 Related story: Tortoise Club moving forward, slowly

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

Published 1-Sep-12 2:59 AM

Loop North News

FREE WEEKLY EMAIL UPDATE

See what’s news in the Loop
and Near North Side.

Signup for our weekly email. No ads and no charge. Just enter your email address here...

Number of subscribers:
See this week’s update

‘Floating Museum’ docked at Riverwalk through August 28
Chicago home loan rates fall to 3.7 percent, so where are the listings?
Marina City commercial property fully leased
Clean streets for $20 per week, offers River North organizations
Eating disorder facility gets zoning permit to operate at 1 East Erie
Arrests at Cubs home games down 46 percent so far this year
Million-dollar North Side condo market on a roll
Louis Rocah, architect who helped design Marina City, dies at age 90
More stories

Today
59th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach serving as show center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Strong in tradition and one of the largest free admission events of its kind, the show headliners include the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights. More info.

Today
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents Smoke, nearby, the first U.S. solo exhibition of Mexico City-based artist Tania Pérez Córdova. Exploring the idea of forms becoming memories, objects growing into experiences, and sculptures turning into events, Córdova’s work confronts audiences with partial narratives – what the artist has chosen to show within the formal frame of her work is intended to make you think of what is outside of it.

By embedding a stranger’s SIM card in a porcelain block or an active debit card in a wood-fired clay platter, Córdova’s sculptures contain traces that connect them to an active life elsewhere. As the exhibition title suggests, if there is smoke nearby, then something is burning – even if you cannot see the fire.

Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue. Map. More info.

August 21
Looking for a spot to view the solar eclipse with no obstructions? Lake Michigan, and Shoreline Sightseeing will go there on August 21. During the 75-minute cruise, special glasses provided by Adler Planetarium will be distributed to all passengers to enable safe viewing at all times. Shoreline’s Solar Eclipse Viewing Cruise will board at 12:30 p.m. and depart Navy Pier’s Dock Street at 12:45 p.m., returning at 2:00 p.m. The fullest solar blockage by the moon is expected to be at approximately 1:19 p.m., so passengers will be onboard and center stage for the height of this incredible experience. Tickets: $25 adults, $15 children 3-12, free for children 2 and under. Cash bar available. Map. More info.

More events

S&P 500
2,425.55 4.46

NASDAQ COMPOSITE
6,216.53 5.39

LOOP/NORTH
42.55 0.02

Biggest Gainers & Losers

CONTINENTAL MATERIALS CORP.
18.60 1.60

LITTELFUSE INC.
176.39 1.49

JOHN BEAN TECHNOLOGIES CORP.
87.35 1.00

Downtown Chicago Stocks