(Above) Rendering of planned changes to elevator lobbies in both towers at Marina City.
30-Dec-12 A petition signed by about 250 unit owners at Marina City is calling for a special meeting of the condo association to discuss and possibly cancel a $258,599 project to remodel the lobbies of both towers.
Marina Towers Condominium Association approved the project on November 15. Since then, owners have complained about a design often described as cold and a process that approved the project with limited input from owners possibly, according to a condo board member, in violation of Illinois law.
The petition for a meeting on January 24 was presented on Friday to MTCA president Donna Leonard, property manager David Gantt, and Daniel Meyer, an attorney for the condo association. Special meetings may be called if requested by 20 percent of an associations unit owners, which the group behind the petition says it has.
In a letter accompanying the petition, MTCA secretary Ellen Chessick points out signatures were collected within one week, arguably the busiest of the year. This is obviously a strong indication of the MTCA ownerships dissatisfaction with the lobby redesign and the way it was handled and approved by the board, with no committee meetings and no owner input or interaction.
Concerns of unit owners, according to Chessick, include lack of input from owners, cost and ineffective utilization of association funds, inappropriate and unsatisfactory design and choice of materials, and loss of the travertine stone that is in the lobbies and on every residential floor.
By signing contracts and scheduling construction prematurely, the project, claims Chessick, is likely to cost significantly more than proposed. Chessick says the budget presented to MTCA for the remodeling project was incomplete, and so was the design, which was missing critical documents and construction details. She also says the condo board was not told of any competitive bids.
Since the project was not included in the condo associations annual budget, Chessick (left) says that according to the Illinois Condominium Property Act, it must be approved by two-thirds of unit owners.
As a board member, my concern is that this renders the boards approval of the project invalid and proceeding with the project in the absence of two-thirds of the total votes of all unit owners [is] in violation of the act.
Design committee at odds with project plan
A design committee was studying the remodeling project but prior to a scheduled meeting on December 11, Marc Straits, the co-chair of the committee, resigned. Straits, an interior designer, said there was a lack of discussion about whether MTCA is using the appropriate materials, lack of any professionals qualified to oversee the project, and what he says is insufficient oversight by the condo board of the remodeling budget.
At the meeting where the board was presented with a vague budget outline that was admittedly incomplete, wrote Straits in his resignation letter, the motion to vote was made prior to completing a discussion about documentation and budget.
Unit owners who attended the previous meeting on December 4 say a letter from the condo association attorney was read, in which Daniel Meyer told the committee it did not have any decision-making authority.