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Commission votes to recommend Marina City landmark designation

5-Nov-15 – It was over in three minutes and 23 seconds. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted unanimously on Thursday to recommend to the City Council that Marina City be designated an official Chicago landmark.

Photo by Steven Dahlman All eight commissioners voted in favor of landmarking at their regular meeting at City Hall.

(Left) Marina City from near East Wacker Place and North Wabash Avenue on May 16, 2011.

“I’m very happy to see these buildings be designated as landmarks,” said Rafael Leon (right), chairman of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. Rafael M. Leon

“I think that as [I’ve heard] from previous meetings, everybody recognizes those buildings around the world, that the moment that they see it, they see Chicago. I’m so glad that we have gotten to the point of designating these buildings as landmarks.”

There has been no formal opposition to landmark designation. At a public hearing on October 16, no one spoke against landmarking. An attorney for the owner of Marina City’s Hotel Chicago and most of the complex’s commercial property said at the hearing that LaSalle Hotel Properties is officially “neutral” on the matter.

Eleanor Gorski, director of historic preservation for Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development, says the city did meet with a representative of LaSalle, along with a representative of Live Nation, owner of the House of Blues at Marina City.

Overall, the process went “much smoother than we thought,” said Matt Crawford, who wrote and edited the department’s 52-page Final Landmark Designation Report. Of the public hearing that lasted about 41 minutes, he said “that’s a record.”

A resolution will be introduced at a City Council meeting most likely in late December. It will be referred to the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards. At the committee meeting at which designation is considered, property owners and members of the public will again have an opportunity to make statements. It will eventually be voted on by the full council.

Financial incentives of living in an official Chicago landmark are modest, say experts. They include eligibility for building permits without paying a fee. However, permits receive extra scrutiny from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, but only for work to building exteriors and interior spaces that can be seen from the outside.