Marina City lobby demolished as residents fume over renovation
Loop North News


Photo by Steven Dahlman

(Above) The elevator lobby on the lower level of Marina City’s west tower on Thursday. (Click on image to view larger version.)

11-Jan-13 – As residents of Marina City continue their protest of plans to renovate lobbies in both towers, a construction firm has proceeded with demolition. In the past week, the ceiling and carpet have been removed from the elevator lobby of the west tower and the walls have been stripped away, revealing earlier layers. In the outer lobby, the frame of a new security desk is in place.

The lobby is closed to west tower residents, who must now use a smaller plaza-level entrance. Many of them have expressed dissatisfaction with the new lobby design, the timing of the project during winter, and the process by which the project was approved.

On December 28, the condo association at Marina City was presented with a petition signed by about 250 unit owners, calling a special meeting at which to discuss the $258,599 project and its controversial design. As of Thursday, the association had not responded.

If the request for a special meeting on January 24 is not granted, unit owners will meet anyway, according to Brian Muir, a real estate broker with an office at Marina City. Muir recently wrote to owners, informing them of the petition and problems the renovation was creating for residents.

Brian Muir “The lobby is now closed for two months in cold weather,” Muir (left) told owners. “This is causing a significant inconvenience to all west tower residents, especially the elderly, on a daily basis. Just to get their mail, residents must exit at the plaza level, go outside, and re-enter the building.”

On Thursday, architecture critic Lynn Becker, who lives at Marina City, shared his disapproval of the project, reminding his readers that lobbies define a building’s “public character.”

“What remains a mystery,” wrote Becker, “is why the Marina City condo board continues to insist on damaging the value of their investment through cheap, generic alterations that destroy the integrity of the historic, world-class design that makes Marina City one of Chicago’s most distinctive properties.”

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By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News |


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