CHICAGO (CBS) — Despite objections from many local property owners and residents, the city of Chicago is considering landmark status for the Fulton-Randolph Market District along the west bank of the Chicago River.

The staff of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks has recommended giving the market district a landmark designation to preserve its history as Chicago’s last remaining food market district, as well as the historic buildings, and the character of the neighborhood.

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Officials cited its history as a food market with historic streetscapes and buildings.

Columbia College historian Dominic Pacyga said the area should be preserved.

“This district is very interesting, in the fact that it’s the oldest continuous food district in the city, created … as early as 1850; and it contains various historic structures which speak to the development of wholesale markets in the city, and have continued to provide this function,” he said.

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However, many residents and building owners said the landmark status and the restrictions it brings are not necessary, since they’ve been preserving the feel of the area voluntarily. Opponents of the landmark proposal have said it would make it more difficult for building owners to make repairs and renovations. They said they already maintain their property, and would continue to do so without being designated as a landmark district.

“Has anyone considered the actual costs – dollars and cents cost – that landmarking will place upon the owners, such that you’ll even reduce or eliminate the very thin margins for the very businesses who’ve protected this property,” Thomas Cronin said.

City officials have said the market district landmark designation would be the least restrictive of the city’s landmark districts.

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