CHICAGO (CBS) — The iconic Marina City complex on the north edge of the Chicago River could soon become an official city landmark, after preservationists lost a battle to save another building designed by the same architect.

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks is scheduled to vote Thursday on a recommendation for preliminary landmark status for the 65-story twin towers designed by Chicago native Bertrand Goldberg.

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“Marina City is just an icon of Chicago,” said Bonnie McDonald, president of Landmarks Illinois, a Chicago-based historic preservation group.

The towers, resembling corn cobs, are perhaps Goldberg’s most famous project, and are arguably Chicago’s most famous skyscrapers, after the Willis Tower and John Hancock Center.

McDonald said Marina City deserves to be protected as landmarks.

“In addition to its being architecturally significant, it also was one of the first residential complexes north of the river,” McDonald said.

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Would landmark status be vindication for Goldberg, whose Prentice Hospital in Streeterville was torn down last year, despite pleas from preservationists to save the building?

“Vindication may not be the word that I would choose, but it’s certainly an acknowledgement that Bertrand Goldberg’s architecture – and his design – is important,” McDonald said.

The Marina City towers have figured prominently in pop culture, having been featured in a Wilco album cover; served as the backdrop for daredevil Nik Wallenda’s historic high-wire walk across the Chicago River last year; and used as the site of a famous car chase in the 1980 Steve McQueen movie “The Hunter,” ending with a car plunging off the 19th floor of the parking garage.

If the commission approves preliminary landmark status, as expected, the building’s owners would be consulted, and public hearings would be held before a final recommendation is sent to the City Council, which has the final say.

Landmark status for Marina City would mean future changes to the exterior would have to be approved by the city.

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Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) sought landmark status for the complex in 2008, after the restaurant Dick’s Last Resort installed roll-up garage-type doors after it moved into the building, angering preservationists, but Reilly’s push went nowhere at the time.