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Another delay in Thompson Center sale

Tuesday, Dec 1, 2020

* Dan Petrella and Ryan Ori at the Tribune

Count the state of Illinois’ plan to line up a buyer for the James R. Thompson Center by the end of 2020 as another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.

A little-noticed provision in legislation the General Assembly passed during its abbreviated, pandemic-focused special session in late May and early June pushed back the timeline for the state to find a buyer for its controversial Loop headquarters by more than a year.

The state now has until April 5, 2022, to reach an agreement with a buyer for the 1.2 million-square-foot glass-and-steel structure, though the legislature could grant another extension. […]

The agency plans to ask for proposals from developers in the first quarter of the new year. […]

When Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill in April 2019 to authorize the sale of the Helmut Jahn-designed building, Chicago was in the midst of a real estate boom. But COVID-19 has led to a significant slowdown in property sales, and the shaky U.S. economy is making developments difficult to finance.

It’s always something with that albatross.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

24 Comments
  1. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 11:25 am:

    Worst. Building. Ever.


  2. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 11:26 am:

    Can the feds use it as a prison?


  3. - Downstate - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    Helmut Jahn should be forced to live or office in there.


  4. - Gravy Bond - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 11:32 am:

    I think it’s just lazy group think to bash the Thompson Center. It’s a beautiful building really.


  5. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 11:34 am:

    We have Madigan to thank for blocking the sale under Rauner, when real estate was booming, in order to deprive him of a win. Petty politics wins the day again.


  6. - OutOfState - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 11:38 am:

    So you’re telling me I shouldn’t have inflated my water wings already?


  7. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 11:50 am:

    “It’s always something with that albatross.”

    Maybe the state should trade it even-up for the equally cursed Congress Theater.

    – MrJM


  8. - Fav human - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 11:53 am:

    At some point it might be more valuable as an empty piece of land…


  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 11:53 am:

    ===It’s a beautiful building===

    On the outside. From a distance. Form should follow function.


  10. - Levois J - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 11:59 am:

    “At some point it might be more valuable as an empty piece of land…”

    Another public park in the middle of the Loop?


  11. - Anon E Moose - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 11:59 am:

    “I think it’s just lazy group think to bash the Thompson Center. It’s a beautiful building really.”

    Lazy? Have you ever worked in that building? It’s a disaster.


  12. - SAP - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 12:00 pm:

    Albatross? The Thompson Center is the gift that keeps on giving. JRTC sale proceeds have been a revenue item in the budget for years.


  13. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    I think it’s a no-brainer that it should be the location for a Chicago casino - anyplace but downtown is leaving, er, cash on the table.


  14. - Fav Human - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 12:03 pm:

    No I meant “as in prime real estate where you can build something else”. How quickly downtowns become hot again after the vaccine arrives will be an interesting thing to see.


  15. - RWP - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 12:05 pm:

    Tell me again why we don’t just take it down and put up a reasonable state building to house state offices? Square, about the height of the Daley Center - same type of design with improvements in HAVC to accommodate “greener” technologies. As Rich has said form should follow function.


  16. - Trubisky’s clipboard - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 12:26 pm:

    Well, there goes the balanced budget.


  17. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 12:26 pm:

    Selling Guaranteed Rate would get more and sell faster.


  18. - Biker - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 12:49 pm:

    As long as they clorinate the pool and add some HEPA filters, the water park is still the best use of the building, even during Covid.


  19. - Bruce - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 1:00 pm:

    Highest and best use….Casino

    Sell it fo $1 to Mayor. And gleefully anticipate revenue stream.


  20. - Chatham Resident - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 1:10 pm:

    The JRTC could be repurposed as the “Running Scared Museum.”


  21. - Leigh John-Ella - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 1:23 pm:

    Now I know how next year’s budget will be balanced.
    It’s a recurring revenue stream at this point.


  22. - RNUG - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 1:33 pm:

    On defense of the building and the architect, the State didn’t follow the specs for the building. Everywhere they could, from the glass to the carpeting, they used lower quality materials that were much cheaper.

    I will agree that in terms of usage of space, it is wasteful … but you could say the same thing about a lot of grand old buildings.


  23. - Proud Sucker - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:20 pm:

    ===Form should follow function.===

    Nice Louis Sullivan reference Rich. Helmut was already pulling away from van der Rohe by that time. Sullivan was long ago in his rear view mirror. Plus, good HVAC is just not sexy.


  24. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 5:22 pm:

    I liked that corner when it was a parking garage instead of the Thompson Center. But the intersection of Lake and LaSalle wasn’t very safe back then.

    https://www.sceen-it.com/sceen/4274/The-Blues-Brothers/North-LaSalle-Street-Lake-Street


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