Condo board defends handling of petition to stop Marina renovation
Loop North News


Photo by Steven Dahlman

(Above) The elevator lobby of Marina City’s west tower on January 11 during the demolition phase of a $258,599 project to renovate residential lobbies in both towers. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

29-Jan-13 – As a controversial project resumes to renovate the residential lobby of its west tower, the condo association at Marina City is defending its handling of a petition that tried to at least slow down the work.

On December 28, a group delivered to the association a petition signed by what they claimed were 25.3 percent of unit owners at Marina City, more than the 20 percent required by Illinois law to call for a special meeting. At the meeting, they had hoped to discuss and possibly stop the $258,599 project. But an attorney for Marina Towers Condominium Association says many of the signatures were submitted improperly by “proxy,” in which one owner represents another, and in the end the group had only about 18.5 percent.

“Those proxies were invalid for a number of reasons,” said Daniel Meyer on Monday, “but most notably because the [Illinois Condominium Property Act] provides that proxies are to be used to vote at meetings, not to vote for meetings.”

Daniel Meyer The petition, says Meyer (left), “reflects only the dissatisfaction of a small number of the unit owners.”

Meyer insists the condo association’s reserve fund will cover the project and a special assessment would not be necessary. He also disputes a claim by a former MTCA treasurer that a previous remodeling project – on the 20th floors of both towers, updating laundry rooms and adding a fitness room and meeting room – was 65 percent over budget at a cost of $820,850.

“That renovation cost $424,840.” The rest, he says, was to upgrade 47-year-old heating and air conditioning equipment. “The renovation of the 20th floors was actually completed under budget.”

Marina Towers Condominium Association

(Above) Rendering of changes in the works to the residential lobbies of both towers at Marina City.

At a regular meeting on January 15 that lasted about two hours, Marina City’s condo board listened to concerns from owners, including architects and professional designers who urged the board to entirely abandon the current lobby design and retain a professional design firm. The group called the design “better suited for an office building” and said it would “not result in value addition and a premium image for Marina City.”

After listening for about 30 minutes, the condo board voted against hiring a professional design firm or making any changes to the design.

DK VP to oversee renovation

Responding to concerns that the project would not be professionally managed, MTCA attorney Daniel Meyer said on Monday an assistant vice president of DK Condo, a company owned by Draper & Kramer, will oversee the project.

William O’Leary, a licensed real estate broker, has been with DK Condo since 2010. He was previously president of Invsco Management Company and was recently president of 415 Condominium Association, a condo building that overlooks Belmont Harbor.

“Mr. O’Leary will coordinate with the contractors to ensure that the project proceeds on schedule and on or under budget,” promised Meyer. “He has been consistently successful on other endeavors, and [MTCA] has no reason to believe that he will not repeat that success.”

After the lobbies are remodeled later in the year, the condo association will turn its attention to Marina City’s 80 residential floors. According to a memo sent to unit owners on January 17, the association will send out a survey seeking their feedback.

“Despite representations by the petitions to the contrary,” wrote MTCA president Donna Leonard in the memo, “no work will begin on the residential floors absent your feedback.”

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News |


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