Permit secured for long-awaited marina at Navy Pier, project leaders say

CHICAGO - The long-delayed Navy Pier Marina project has received the green light from the City of Chicago and the Johnson Administration, project leaders announced Tuesday.

The marina would occupy the North Slip of Navy Pier, not far from Chicago's water treatment facility. After being approved by the Chicago City Council in 2016, it was delayed over security concerns, given its proximity to the water treatment facility.

Project leaders said this means that groundbreaking on the project could start in 2024.

"It's been a long time coming," said Randy Podolsky, who's leading the effort. "I stuck with it. I'm proud of that. I had a lot of people support me....the [Johnson] administration has been more receptive to having those discussions and so we're back on track as of [Monday.]"

The Chicago Department of Transportation finally issued a Harbor Permit, with concerns over the marina's proximity to Chicago's water treatment facility now in the rearview mirror. The marina will feature a mix of fixed and floating piers, and a two-story boater's amenity facility with restrooms, showers, and a lounge.

"It's a big deal," said Podolsky. "We plan on constructing during the bulk of 2024 and putting the final pier pieces and utility connections in place by early 2025."

The privately-funded project will be a transient marina, meaning boaters can rent slips for hours or days as opposed to docking for an entire season.

"That means that not only the 4000 or 5000 boats docked in Chicago that are looking for places to dock and eat and be entertained, they'll have a place, but so will boaters all over Lake Michigan and beyond," said Podolsky. "It'll bring nothing but unique visitors to Navy Pier."

He expects the Navy Pier Marina to be open for business by May 2025.