Chicago Landmark Designation: Marina City

Contact: E. Gorski, 312.744.3201 or

Marina City


Continuing the landmark designation process that began on July 9, 2015, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted in favor of a final recommendation to City Council that Marina City be designated as a Chicago Landmark. The final recommendation and final designation report are available at the bottom of this page. The Commission’s recommendation will be introduces to City Council in December and then be referred to the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards. At the Committee meeting at which the designation is considered, property owners or any member of the public may make an oral statement and/or present a written statement for the Committee’s consideration. The date of and agenda for the committee meeting will be posted on the website of the Chicago City Clerk:


Why is the City proposing to landmark Marina City?

The purpose of the proposed designation is to recognize and preserve the historic significance and importance of the Marina City complex to the City of Chicago, as well as to qualify it for historic rehabilitation incentives. Marina City is an icon of Chicago urban planning, an exemplary example of Expressionist architecture, and represents Bertrand Goldberg’s unique architectural perspective as one of Chicago’s most notable architects.


What restrictions are being placed on buildings within Marina City?

When a Landmark district such as Marina City is proposed for Chicago Landmark status, and continuing after its designation, all building permit applications for buildings in the proposed district are evaluated to determine whether the work will affect what are called “significant historical and architectural features” of the proposed landmark district; work on these features must be approved by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. For Marina City, the significant features have been preliminarily identified as exterior building elevations, including rooflines and the exterior of the concourse level and the marina, visible from public rights-of-way and the Chicago River, as well as the driveways and open plaza areas between the buildings. There are no requirements to change a building once it is designated as a Chicago landmark and any current property conditions may be maintained. Historic preservation staff only responds to changes proposed by building owners.


When is a building permit required and for what kind of work?

No additional City permits are required for Landmark buildings or buildings within Landmark districts. The Commission simply reviews permits as part of the normal building permit process. The Commission annually reviews some 2,000 permits for Landmark properties, most of which are approved in one day. Routine maintenance work, such as painting and minor repairs, does not require a building permit. Under the City’s Rehabilitation Code, there is also a special historic preservation provision that allows for greater flexibility in applying the Building Code to designated landmarks in order to preserve significant features of such buildings. More information on getting a permit is available from the Historic Preservation staff or can be found on the DPD website.

How does the Commission evaluate proposed changes to existing buildings or the design of new construction?

The Commission has established criteria to evaluate permit applications for both renovations and new construction. These criteria and the Commission’s review procedures are published as part of the Rules and Regulations of the Commission of Chicago Landmarks. The basis for the criteria is the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings. The Commission also has adopted policies regarding many aspects of rehabilitation work, and these polices include those detailed in Guidelines for Alterations to Historic Buildings and New Construction, available here or from the Historic Preservation staff.

What are the advantages of landmark designation?

Status as a Landmark district can enhance an area’s prestige, increase the value of the properties within it, and help stabilize an entire neighborhood. There are also specific benefits available under federal, state and local economic incentive programs, see links below.


Marina City - Preliminary Summary of Information (PDF)

Marina City - Preliminary Resolution (PDF)

Marina City - DPD Report (PDF)

Marina City - Final Report (PDF)

Marina City - Final Recommendation (PDF)


Information on Chicago Landmarks – City of Chicago Website