Gov. Rauner wants to sell and demolish James R. Thompson Center
The James R. Thompson Center, opened in 1985, is looking at a future of not being around, if Governor Bruce Rauner has his way. He wants a public auction to sell the property for cash by the close of 2016.
At 17 stories, the 980,000 s.f. open-air atrium has been criticized for excess noise and granite slabs that have fallen out. – Not a good use of space – but very beautiful!
The Tribune reports some compelling financial incentives to move on from this 30-year-old building: Governor Rauner stated that the current building has $100 million in deferred maintenance costs–while a new structure could bring in about $20 million annually to the city and public schools. And approximately 2,200 government workers would be relocated to other properties in the city or Springfield, further sparing $6-12 million from taxpayers per year.
The building, which is three decades old, certainly could use a good fix-up. The state has not maintained any part of it very well, nor has anybody thought to renovate it so that it can answer to today’s office standards and technology. The retail spaces have gone down market. The building’s style does not help: With curves that cascade down toward the street, vivid colors, and the screen of a notional arcade that peels off the main space to help define the plaza, the Thompson Center is a postmodern anomaly in the Loop’s grid.