Illinois officially placed the James R. Thompson Center that houses state government offices in downtown Chicago up for sale, state officials said Monday.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services took a step that has been in the works for years. Illinois officials have argued the 17-story building designed by celebrated architect Helmut Jahn is a drain on state finances because it’s inefficient to operate and in need of hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs.
“Selling the property provides a unique opportunity to maximize taxpayer savings, create thousands of union jobs, generate millions of dollars in real estate taxes to benefit the City of Chicago and spur economic development,” Pritzker said in a news release.
The expectation among officials is that the 3-acre site will be of interest to developers looking to raze the building. Preservationists have argued the glassy building, or at least its towering atrium, should be kept as part of any redevelopment.
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Officials say offers for the Thompson Center — named after a former Illinois governor — are due by Aug. 16, and a buyer is expected to be chosen by November.
Earlier this year, the state purchased an office building previously leased to PepsiCo, where state employees from several Chicago office buildings, including the Thompson Center, will be relocated. The move would save Illinois about $21 million each year. That’s what it spends in rent and operating costs at seven different office buildings in Chicago, according to Pritzker’s office.