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Madigan orders committee to take up Thompson Center sale issue

Friday, Feb 17, 2017

* Madigan has opposed this idea in the past, so maybe this is a good sign. From a press release…

Madigan Directs House Committee to Consider Rauner Proposal to Sell Thompson Center

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, D-Chicago, issued the following statement Friday:

“In his recent Budget Address, Governor Rauner prioritized the sale of the James R. Thompson Center. In keeping with my commitment to work cooperatively with the governor, I’ve directed the House State Government Administration Committee to consider legislation requested by Governor Rauner that would allow for the sale, lease or other redevelopment of the Thompson Center.

“While technical questions pertaining to the sale remain, it is my intention to work with the governor on developing a course of action for the Thompson Center that best serves the interests of the people of Illinois.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

38 Comments
  1. - RIP Bernie Epton - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 8:43 am:

    Why was Madigan opposed before? He liked the Chicago location for meetings?


  2. - DuPage Bard - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 8:43 am:

    Is this really a good idea? 25 years from now when escalating costs in downtown have become a huge burden on the budget, is a sitting Governor going to complain that ridiculous rent prices in Chicago require us to finally purchase property to adequately house State agencies and employees?
    Whenever I hear sell Government owned resources for a short quick cash/ fix deal I think Chicago Skyway and Parking Meters. Devil’s advocate.


  3. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 8:44 am:

    Alternative headline: Madigan makes first attempt to look reasonable.

    About time.


  4. - A guy - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 8:46 am:

    Assign this one to the Dynamite committee.


  5. - Great Caesar's Ghost! - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 8:52 am:

    It means that there might actually be a grand bargain before too long.


  6. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 8:58 am:

    It makes me wonder how much pressure he is getting from his caucus. Hopefully a ton.


  7. - m - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 8:58 am:

    “I’ve found technical issues that I can use to block the sale, it is my intention to use these to pretend to work with the governor on developing a course of action for the Thompson Center that best allows me to block it while looking like it’s for the interests of the people of Illinois.”

    Fixed it…


  8. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:08 am:

    The governor is banking $240M from the sale. Is that a reasonable net for a tear down?


  9. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:11 am:

    If I’m not mistaken, the Speaker’s Chicago office is across the street at the Bilandic Building.

    The prize here is not who gets to buy the JRTC. It’s who gets the leases for all the people coming out of it. Get it?


  10. - Chicagonk - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:12 am:

    Baby steps but it’s a good sign.


  11. - Earnest - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:17 am:

    Might be a good sign, might be similar to hearings in the past on the different points on the governor’s TA items. There were even votes on individual items. Hopefully this is different.


  12. - Henry Francis - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:19 am:

    As much as I hate the JRTC, this is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Anyone think the State will actually net $200M from any sale like Rauner has said? (Which is a rounding error for the financial mess we are in). Especially when you favor in moving costs and all those wonderful leases AA refers to?

    Maybe it’s throwing Rauner a bone. Giving him a cheap and easy “win”. But substantively this is a minor idea that has been around for awhile.


  13. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:21 am:

    So where will all those people work? And what will it cost, year after year, compared to owning the building? Can we get something more specific than, “what a dump?”


  14. - Mokenavince - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:21 am:

    There’s plenty of space in or near downtown Chicago that the state can rent.


  15. - Civility - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:46 am:

    Rich, didn’t he send a similar letter about procurement? If so that is two olive branches from Madigan. Am I wrong to think that’s significant?


  16. - 47th Ward - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:46 am:

    ===The governor is banking $240M from the sale. Is that a reasonable net for a tear down?===

    I think that is a ridiculously high estimate for a sales price. But even if they got that price, they still have to find new office space. It would be nice to see some estimates for the cost for renting somewhere else downtown.


  17. - Juice - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:46 am:

    “There’s plenty of space in or near downtown Chicago that the state can rent.”

    Ok, but with all sincerity, what landlord is going to offer up new space to a tenant that doesn’t have appropriations to pay the rent?

    And if they do, how much is that going to cost and has it been included in the Governor’s budget?

    And how much is it going to cost to get out of the concessions contract, and has that been deducted from the sale price?


  18. - Ratso Rizzo - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:53 am:

    We almost got locked out of offices last year in Tinley Park due to the State not paying the lease.


  19. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 9:53 am:

    As State property the JRTC is exempt from City and County taxes and regulations. Selling to a private developer loses those exemptions.


  20. - Sox Fan - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 10:28 am:

    ==As State property the JRTC is exempt from City and County taxes and regulations. Selling to a private developer loses those exemptions==

    And as the biggest player in the downtown market, it is likely that the new property tax assessment will be appealed by Madigan’s firm. Win-win for the Speaker.


  21. - non - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 10:39 am:

    State employees have been relocated. It makes sense.


  22. - Johnnie F. - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    Brilliant idea! now wwe can scatter offices to 20 different locations each with rents and infrastructure needs instead of having a singular needful space. Think there will be any real cost analysis on this deal?


  23. - Lech W - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 10:42 am:

    ==Sox Fan== so true MJM will win no matter what !


  24. - Flynn's mom - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 10:44 am:

    Aren’t there a lot of businesses in there with long term leases? Will they just break those if there is an interested buyer?


  25. - Demolition Man - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 10:54 am:

    The City of Chicago has no problem replacing City College buildings after forty years or less (rather than face up to the fact that the buildings were poorly designed or badly maintained). Why can’t we admit the mistake and demolish the futuristic glass and steel hell hole that is the JRTC? Illinois would be better served with another conventional office building in the place of this eyesore.


  26. - Newsclown - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 11:08 am:

    How about moving everybody to the old Post Office Building?


  27. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 12:06 pm:

    The only lease is the master lease of the retail property. The tenants are subleasing. I haven’t been in there for awhile, but I would guess at least $10 million and maybe higher will be needed to buy out that lease.
    The CTA station can’t be shut down. Period. Some sort of structure will have to be built around it to allow continuity of operations if/when the building comes down. Mo’ money there.


  28. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 12:17 pm:

    Forgot to add this-a conservative estimate of rent costs might be 1000 employees x 200 sf/ee x $30/sf=$6,000,000.
    Add moving costs and $3000/ employee for new furniture $5,000,000. Mo, mo, money. Note-New furniture required becuase most JRTC furniture is as shot as the building itself.


  29. - My New Handle - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 12:49 pm:

    I thought the state had already sold the Thompson Center, so I googled it. I had been mistaken. It was the state’s soul. My bad.


  30. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    == even if they got that price, they still have to find new office space. It would be nice to see some estimates for the cost for renting somewhere else downtown.==
    It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that from an overall financial perspective that this is a bad idea. It provides a one year revenue booster shot to help balance the budget, but really may be simply kicking the can down the road with future years’ rental expense.


  31. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 1:03 pm:

    –The CTA station can’t be shut down. Period. Some sort of structure will have to be built around it to allow continuity of operations if/when the building comes down. Mo’ money there.–

    That was going to be a tough tear-down and build anyway, just due to location.

    How do you pull it off and keep the El and subway station? Every line stops at Clark and Lake.


  32. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 1:14 pm:

    word, I’m neither architect nor engineer, but I think they are going to have to build a new station inside the building before they go knocking down JRTC. The other implication here is that we won’t be able to come downtown some Sunday morning and watch it being imploded. Demolition was already expected to be tricky with all that glass. Mo,mo,mo money.

    The only other option (and I have no idea if it’s feasible) would be to build a new station in the 203 N. LaSalle building just north of JRTC. Mo,mo,mo,mo money.

    The reports and appraisals Rauner ordered are deemed to be not subject to FOIA. Wonder why?


  33. - Mama - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    “The reports and appraisals Rauner ordered are deemed to be not subject to FOIA. Wonder why?”

    AA - How are the reports and appraisals of a state owned building not subjected to FOIA?


  34. - illini - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    I am going back probably 25 or 30 years and my recollection of the specific are “fuzzy”.

    The Federal Govt doubled the size of the Federal Building in East St. Louis at a significant cost, yet within less than 5 years the DOJ ( and possibly other Departments ) required additional space.

    The solution - a long term lease was signed with a prominent developer for office space in one of his office parks 10 miles away. And at a cost to taxpayers that guaranteed him rental revenue more than twice the cost of the recently completed addition.

    @AA is right - ” Mo,mo,mo,mo money.”


  35. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 2:08 pm:

    –The reports and appraisals Rauner ordered are deemed to be not subject to FOIA. Wonder why? –

    LOL, yeah, I wonder.

    If the GA green lights the sale, I guess we’ll really find out what kind of businessman the governor is to net $240 million out of it.

    Regarding implosion, I’m wondering if that’s really an option given the tight quarters there (also the El tracks and subway). I figured they’d set up cranes and take it apart piece by piece, just like they built it.


  36. - LessAnon? - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    == even if they got that price, they still have to find new office space. It would be nice to see some estimates for the cost for renting somewhere else downtown.==

    Rent in downtown Springfield is cheap and plentiful right now. Could even build a new building in the complex (long overdue) and demo the Stratton Building, too. The old Armory is in bad shape, as well, and would be a convenient spot for a new state office building.


  37. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 3:01 pm:

    How many state offices are left in the Thompson building?

    They could move ISBE’s Chicago staff to it’s Springfield office. There is plenty of empty space there.


  38. - Boone's is back - Friday, Feb 17, 17 @ 3:08 pm:

    TRADE BAIT


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