THE BIOGRAPHY OF CHICAGO’S MARINA CITY
By Steven Dahlman

Light reading for prospective tenants

Marina City – A City Within A City was a 12-inch x 12-inch 28-page paperback book with two centerfolds that promoted the complex to prospective residential tenants. Included were a rental application and an “Interior Planning Aid” on which miniature paper cutouts of furniture could be placed on floor plans of efficiency, one bedroom, and two bedroom units.

The McFetridge Plan

A city within a city...designed to return the essential activities of modern man – work, home, recreation – to a closer, more natural association.

The social and economic erosion of our downtown centers is a national problem. The McFetridge Plan was conceived to arrest this dangerous trend and, by example, to point the way to positive solutions of the problem.

Marina City, for the first time in 50 years, will reverse the exodus of Chicago’s central population towards the suburbs by bringing 900 families to live within two blocks of the Loop.

Marina City will provide better housing at lower living costs for more than 2500 people.

Marina City will be income producing and tax producing, and will lighten the tax burden for all of Chicago.

Marina City, with its housing, working and recreation, is planned as a 24-hour-a-day city. Only this 24-hour pattern of living can pay for the benefits produced by the Central City. In this move to protect our downtown centers, the McFetridge Plan will serve the communities from which members of the Building Service Employees International Union and its affiliates derive their employment.

In Marina City, Chicago has the pilot project in the imaginative plan to assure the future stability of our downtown areas.

(Click on image to view larger version)

recreation
marina for 700 small boats
indoor heated swimming pool
gymnasium and health club
54-lane bowling alley
year-round outdoor ice skating
1-acre roof deck
landscaped garden

service
restaurants
beauty shop
barber shop
tailor shop
newsstand
florist
book shop
commissary
general shopping
900-car parking
public auditorium and meeting rooms
public transportation

culture
1700-seat theatre and auditorium building
art exhibits
outdoor sculpture garden

Core Concept Of High Rise Living

Marina City’s fireproof core structure – rooted solidly in bedrock 110 feet below ground surface – supports the world’s tallest apartment buildings. Since all of the service facilities are below the 20th floor, Marina City apartments begin where the usual high-rise apartments end. Marina City tenants live securely above the noise of the city and above the fall-out of city dirt.

Core walls start with a thickness of 30 inches. This construction produces twice the rigidity, for its height, of the Empire State Building. From this rigid core, containing all of the utility components, Marina City apartments radiate in an efficient flower petal plan which places bathrooms and kitchens close to the core where they are needed. Living areas extend to the periphery of the space development where they combine internal privacy and external view on a scale possible only with radial planning.

Core Concept of Dynamic Space

Marina City’s radiating plan produces progressively expanding space from the apartment entrance to the outer window walls. This expanding space reaches its climax in the spectacular 210 degree view from the private balcony of each apartment. From the time you enter a Marina City apartment, your impression is one of unconfined, ever-expanding space. This effect is not possible in apartments of conventional design.

Special features of Marina City Apartments:

  1. All-electric air conditioning and heating
  2. Individual room control for all-electric heating, air conditioning, ventilation
  3. Fully equipped General Electric kitchen
  4. Gold Medallion wiring with ample electric appliance circuits and power
  5. Dressing table and vanitory
  6. Built-in clothes drawers
  7. Luxurious closet space
  8. Garbage disposal unit in each kitchen
  9. Textolite coated counter tops for kitchen and bath
  10. Floor-to-ceiling bathroom tile
  11. Optional accessories including dishwashers
  12. Thermopane windows
  13. Master TV antenna
  14. Dining areas in each kitchen
  15. Asphalt tile floors
  16. Storage locker for each apartment
  17. Telephone connection to all service centers
  18. Electric door annunciator at each apartment door
  19. Individual decorator plans
  20. Carpeted lobbies
  21. Ultra-high-speed Autotronic Otis elevators
  22. Laundry lounge with automatic washers and dryers
  23. House physician and first aid facilities
  24. 24-hour guard service
  25. 24-hour package room with refrigerator facility

All Electric Living

Electricity, the atomic-age fuel, is the natural choice for Marina City. Electricity is clean, quiet, completely and constantly controllable. Heating or air conditioning of every Marina City apartment is individually controlled at each room by dial at the discretion of the tenants. Electric cooking is clean, convenient and fast. Electrically heated water for each apartment gives the tenant complete control over temperature selection.

General Electric engineering and General Electric products thruout Marina City insure the ultimate in safety, convenience and comfort.

Gold Medallion wiring thruout Marina City will satisfy without interruption every current demand for the needs of our tenants.

The exclusive use of electricity for heating makes possible lowest electric rates for conventional purposes – modern lighting, electric blankets, air conditioning. The probability of stable electricity costs in the future through nuclear and other technological developments in power production, will help keep Marina City rentals at present modest levels. This all-electric city is another Marina City “first” designed for tenant comfort.

View From The Heights

From the windows or the balcony, on the 21st to 60th floors, the Marina City apartment tenant can enjoy a matchless view of the ever-changing pageant performed on the city’s land and water surfaces far below. Whether the season’s feature is the color of pleasure craft on the lake or river, or the white patterns of snowy roof tops, the Marina City tenant can observe the scene from the luxurious comforts of home. And if he cares to join any part of the action observed, he can do so, quickly and easily, from his conveniently centered Marina City base. The option is his; to be a part of – or apart from – the city’s rich variety at any time.

Actually, the Marina City tenant can push his viewpoint even higher by taking the elevator to the roof of the 61st floor. There, the reception room and roof deck provide a special setting for full round the city viewing.

Marina City’s radial garage supplies modestly priced attendant parking for all permanent tenants, residential or commercial. Cars are parked one-deep and through fast central man lifts no car is further than 50 feet walking distance for the carhop. This assures good service for parking and delivery. Marina City tenants simply telephone for car delivery – either their own or one from Marina City’s pool of rental cars.

Marina City Center

The focal point of Marina City is the 14 story high Theatre building – both for its architectural beauty and its multiple functions. The building serves as the transportation center since it is the point at which the public first enters the Marina City system of mechanical transportation. From this point, escalators provide transport to any part of Marina City.

The well-equipped Theatre can handle the complete “show business” range, from movies to legitimate theatre. The plan is to bring the world’s best offerings in all entertainment categories to Marina City Theatre. In addition to theatre and transportation facilities, the Theatre building contains an auditorium of great versatility, immediately adjacent to the riverfront restaurant. Served by large elevators and divisible into smaller spaces, the auditorium will supply space for small community meetings, small theatre and art events and a variety of commercial and cultural uses.

(Above left) Photograph from the booklet, a close-up of a model of the Theatre building. (Above right) Actual view today. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

Plan For Relaxation and Pleasure

Marina City Living will produce more leisure time – time which can be used in relaxation and in recreational activities. To make the most of this leisure time Marina City provides the following:

bowling – 54 lanes
boating – Marina with storage for 700 small craft
swimming year-round – heated pool
gymnasium – steam room, massage and health club
ice skating – outdoors year-round
game deck – 1 acre
riverfront sculpture garden
restaurants
shops
theatre – 1700 seats

Design For Modern Business

The Office Building provides a “working” backdrop for Marina City – a curtain. Planned for two principal exposures – one for a view towards the river, one for work by north light – layout of the building gives tenants efficient utilization of each square foot paid for. No point is more than 30 feet from a window, and window arrangement permits desk layouts for small, medium and large office units without wasted space. Tenants have the additional advantage of Marina City’s superb service facilities:

  • apartments for employees
  • parking
  • food and bar service
  • recreation and health facilities for employees
  • availability of medical service

The convenience of space in the nearby auditorium for sales presentations is another example of this extra dimension,

(Above) Close-up of office building model and actual view today. Click on images to view larger versions.

Marina City, A City Within A City

By any standard of evaluation, Marina City is a unique expression of a unique concept. The result is an optimum balance of the elements essential to modern living – home, work, recreation – in an inspiring architectural setting. By providing these elements in this balance, Marina City offers its tenants a rare opportunity to live contemporary life to its fullest.

Marina City is managed by – Marina Management Corporation, Charles R. Swibel, President, 316 West Randolph Street, Phone 222-1111.

ownership
Marina City Building Corporation
North Marina City Building Corporation
William L. McFetridge, President

sponsorship
Building Service Employees International Union, David Sullivan, General President
Chicago Flat Janitors Union Local No. 1, Henry A. Kruse, Vice President
Building Service Employees International Union Local No. 328, Thomas Shortman, President
Building Service Employees Pension Trust, Trustees: Jay Raskin, George Hardy, James F. Sullivan

banking
Continental Illinois Bank and Trust
American National Bank
Institutional Securities Corporation
Chicago Title & Trust Company
Marks and Company
Dovenmuehle Incorporated
FHA Insured Project No. 071-00159

architects and engineers
Bertrand Goldberg Associates
Severud Elstad Krueger
Moran Procter Mueser & Rutledge
Dr. Ralph Peck

contractors
James McHugh Construction Co.
Brighton Construction Co.
General Electric Corporation
R. Cooper, Jr., Inc.
Commonwealth Edison Company
Material Service Corporation
Portland Cement Association

On the inside back cover is a small blue sticker with white lettering, “UNTIL MARCH 1 PHONE: 346-7216.”

(Left) Marina City rental application, circa 1962. Click on image to view larger version.

Last updated 1-Apr-11