Business owners make security plans for NATO

May 2, 2012 6:30:05 PM PDT
Building and business owners near Chicago's McCormick Place are taking their own precautions to protect people and property during the upcoming NATO summit.

The city has its security plan. But many apartment buildings and businesses are making plans of their own.

One Museum Park West is so close to McCormick Place, the Secret Service for NATO weekend has asked the high-rise to close some of its balconies.

"We're like a little submarine," said Shirley Feldman, property manager, One Museum Park West. "We're kind of planning to take care of things ourselves, and we're very well prepared for it."

For that weekend, the condo building is planning to lock several entrances, including the loading bay. Deliveries and contract work will be prohibited. No trespassing signs have been added, and some signs will be removed, so they can't be used as projectiles.

"We are going to be creating ID badges for our residents, not only for access for the property but also to help them get in and out of the neighborhood," said Feldman.

Similar precautions are being taken by other South Loop residences. But officials are urging properties away from McCormick to also have a plan.

"I think they still need to be vigilant," said Tom Skweres, Apartment Building Owners and Management Assocation. "We don't know where the protest groups will be. We obviously know where three of the protest marches are going. But we don't know what's going to happen with some of the other groups."

For now, it's hard to how many South Loop businesses will be open. Kristi Rodriguez's furniture store, Furniture Clearance Center on Michigan, won't be one of them.

"My concern is for safety," she told ABC7. "My safety as well as hers. And anybody around here, so I'm just not going to be here. I will not open."

A group advising South Loop businesses says the NATO host committee is discouraging the boarding up of windows.

"They just want business as usual, is what we've been told," said Bonnie Sanchez-Carlson, Near South Planning Board. "

But many major banks in the financial district are taking other steps.

Employees have told ABC7 that that some banks have covered windows with an anti-shatter protective coating. BMO Harris sent out a memo advising workers to avoid wearing business suits or clothes bearing the company's logo. And several banks, including Bank of America, have told staff to be ready to work from home.

"I think you're going to see conduct of business as usual with precautions being taken," said Michael Cornicelli, Building Owners and Managers Association.

All of those precautions, whether the hiring of security staff or the purchase of materials, will not be reimbursed by the city.