Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Illinois Puts Chicago's Thompson Center On The Auction Block
The State of Illinois Center in downtown Chicago has been a white elephant since the day it opened its doors in 1985. The 17-story steel and glass structure, which houses about 2,200 state employees, cost $172 million to develop and was plagued with problems from the day it opened. Maintaining the heating and cooling systems in the building has been its biggest nightmare.
It was envisioned by former Gov. James Thompson (R), who made it known he expected it to be named after him, which it was shortly after he left office. Facing a $5 billion budget deficit, Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) announced plans to sell the property, saying the state can lease space for its state employees elsewhere for a fraction of the cost it takes the state to maintain the Thompson Center.
I've put a video up below of Rauner's announcement today. I thought he was really talking down the building to prospective buyers until I realized the plan is to implode the building and redevelop the prime land on which it sits from scratch. “It’s just not usable for much of anything,” Rauner said. When asked about the building's architectural significance, Rauner responded: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,”
Former Gov. Thompson has to be furious that the building honoring his service didn't even last his life time. The building's architect, Helmut Jahn, is none too pleased either. “The building has not been maintained or repaired, the retail lacks style and attraction. … The best way to save the building, and to improve it, is to repurpose it.”