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CHICAGO-Even though it has changed hands three times in recent years, and the name of the long-time retailer could change as well, the Marshall Field’s store at 111 N. State St. will stay pretty much the same, right down to its signature clock and name. While a city commission Thursday recommended landmark status for the property now owned by Federated Retail Holdings Inc., 42nd Ward Alderman Burton Natarus thinks he has a way to keep the Marshall Field’s name from becoming extinct.

“The name Marshall Field’s is so synonymous with Chicago,” Natatus says. “I hope we put a plaque on all four corners of the building. That should be a message to the corporate hierarchy.” The Marshall Field’s name is in jeopardy as a result of the flurry of retail takeovers.

The nine-story, 1.6-million-sf building takes up an entire city block bounded by State, Washington and Randolph streets as well as Wabash Avenue and the overhead Chicago Transit Authority elevated tracks. The designation, recommended Thursday by the commission on Chicago landmarks, includes restrictions on altering exterior and interior elements such as an iconic clock at State and Washington streets as well as two interior atriums, one of them traditionally used to house a tall tree during the holiday shopping season.

“Chicagoans have been meeting under the clock since 1897,” says Heidi Sperry of the city’s department of planning and development. The clock was memorialized by a Norman Rockwell painting that graced the front of the Saturday Evening Post in 1945.

Attorney Rick Wendy, who has represented Target Corp., May Co. Stores and now Federated Retail Holdings in discussions with the department of planning and development, says the new owners consented to the landmark designation, which restricts changes to the building. The flagship store changed hands in a $39.2-million deal last year, according to property records.

“We have worked with Heidi Sperry and Brian Goeken over a period of many months, and both of them are among the best representatives the city has working with property owners,” Wendy says. “We’ve had our differences, and they stick to their guns, but they know how to deal with property owners.”

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