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Navy Pier Transformation Continues As Venue Becomes Not-For-Profit

Navy Pier

(credit: navypier.com)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Next month, Navy Pier will separate from the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority and become its own not-for-profit. 

A major priority is revamping the venue in time for its centennial on 2016, CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports.

With its amusement rides and sailing ships, Navy Pier is the state’s top tourist destination.

It’s what drew the vacationing Herzberg family here from Kansas City.

But with the opening of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Bar and Restaurant, there is a clear message the Pier is also working to appeal to a broader crowd.

Navy Pier General Manager Marilyn Gardner is committed to keeping the profitable destination the people’s pier. But as it becomes a not-for-profit, renovation plans under consideration include more green space and attractions to take it to the next level.

“We’re looking to create more nightlife here and more wintertime activities,” Gardner said. 

Operators like Shoreline Sightseeing admit more dining options beyond food court fare could make the pier a better year-round destination.

“If there were more people down here on those shoulder months, it would be very helpful,” Chip Collopy said.

Navy Pier board directors say they may pursue corporate partnerships to help redevelop the site.