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Downtown Santa Fe Sign May Read "Motorola" Instead

By Chris Bentley in News on May 2, 2012 3:20PM

Along with the 100 workers Motorola Solutions plans to bring downtown, the Schaumburg-based company also hopes to install its name in place of the sign that for decades has read “Santa Fe.”

The Santa Fe Building, 224 S. Michigan Ave., sits in the Historic Michigan Boulevard District, and thus Motorola’s plans are subject to review by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, who will consider Motorola’s reface Thursday. The city staff recommendation included in Thursday’s agenda approves of the new name, so long as it remains consistent in color and lighting with the original “Santa Fe” signage.

“The project will not have an adverse effect,” the staff recommendation reads, “on the significant historical and architectural features of the landmark district.”

Daniel Burnham supposedly crafted his Chicago plan in the 1904 building’s top floor. Originally called the Railway Exchange Building, the terracotta-clad offices were once headquarters for the Santa Fe railroad company.

Santa Fe moved out many years ago, but their namesake remains. Motorola’s employees will share the building with architecture firms Skidmore Owings and Merrill, VOA, and Goettsch Partners, as well as the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Apparently, though, the new tenants’ deal includes the power to change the building’s signage. Property manager Jones Lang LaSalle, designer Icon Identity Solutions, and Motorola’s Paula Mengarelli submitted the proposal to the landmarks committee.