Promontory Apartments gets preliminary landmark designation

Commissioners on the Landmarks Commission discuss giving preliminary landmark status to Promontory Apartments during Thursday’s meeting at City Hall. (Photo by Samantha Smylie)

Staff writer

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks has voted unanimously to approve preliminary landmark status for Promontory Apartments.

The Promontory Apartments, located at 5530 S. Shore Dr., was created by world-renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe along with retail developer Herbet Greenwald in 1949. The 21-story building with 122 units was van der Rohe’s first high rise and one of America’s earliest international high rises.

According to a presentation given at the Aug. 1 meeting, the building meets four of the seven criteria to be considered for a landmark: it is a part of the city’s heritage, it is connected to a significant person, it has exemplary architecture and it was designed by a notable architect.

All buildings must pass the integrity criterion, a building must “possess a significant historic, community, architectural or aesthetic interest or value, the integrity of which is preserved in light of its location, design, setting, materials, workmanship and ability to express such historic, community, architectural or aesthetic interest or value.” Van der Rohe’s design has stood the test of time and the building has had a few renovations since 1949.

The next step is to receive a statement from the Department of Planning and Development that will detail how the proposed landmark designation impacts the neighborhood’s plans and policies. No timeline for that has been set.

If approved, the landmark will preserve the cultural and historical significance of Promontory Apartments for generations to come.