Motorola wants to replace ‘Santa Fe’ sign downtown

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Sign atop the Santa Fe Building, 224 S. Michigan Ave., photographed Thursday, April 26, 2012, in Chicago | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

Schaumburg-based Motorola Solutions wants to see its name in lights in a landmark district of downtown Chicago.

The company is moving workers into the building at 224 S. Michigan, which has a familiar “Santa Fe” sign on top. Motorola has asked the city permission to replace it with a “Motorola” sign

City officials appear inclined to grant the request, which is to be heard Thursday by a permit review panel of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. The commission is involved because 224 S. Michigan is in the Historic Michigan Boulevard District.

The agenda for the meeting said city staff favors the change. “As proposed, the ‘Motorola’ copy shall be consistent with the existing ‘Santa Fe’ copy in terms of color and illumination levels at night,” the staff recommendation said.

The 108-year-old building was designed by architectural legend Daniel Burnham and is said to be where he wrote his famous 1909 Plan of Chicago. The Santa Fe railroad moved out of it decades ago, but the sign stayed behind, a rare corporate advertisement on a postcard view of the city.

Motorola Solutions has said 100 workers will occupy one floor of the 17-story building.

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