THE BIOGRAPHY OF CHICAGOS MARINA CITY
Written by Steven Dahlman
$5 million for two garages
In August 1961, Charles Swibel negotiated a 25-year lease of the 18-story spiral parking ramps for $200,000 per year (nearly $1.5 million in 2010 dollars). Managing the 900-car garages would be Marina City Garage & Parking Corporation. The president of this newly formed company was Samuel Burke, a partner in the law firm of Burke, Russ & Rawson. Company officials also included Russell and Jerome Bernstein, who operated the Washburn-Monroe Garage & Parking Corporation.
Driving in circles
On February 11, 1963, the first passenger car made it to the 19th floor of the spiral parking ramp without incident, mused Chicago Daily Tribune reporter James M. Gavin.
The ramp grade is a bit steeper through the first four floor levels, Gavin noted. From the fifth floor level the grade is five percent and a driver feels a little safer accelerating in low gear at 10 to 15 miles an hour. However, as the higher floors are reached and the citys skyline begins to flash into view, the driver has a tendency to hug the core of the building.
The monthly rate to park there would be $30 when the garage officially opened a month later.
By July 1964, Jerome Bernstein had become part owner of Marina City Garage & Parking Corporation. He announced a deal with Hertz to offer rental cars to Marina City residents, with just 15-minute notice. At the time, only 25 percent of residents had a car parked at Marina City.
Said Bernstein, The original concept of Marina City having been the convenience of living in the heart of the city and within walking distance of offices, shops and restaurants, we did not expect all of the residents would be car owners.
The garage was open 24 hours a day, and provided gas, oil, lube and washing. Leonard Goldin was the manager during the day; Ben Martin was the night manager.
|Last updated 28-Mar-11||