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*** UPDATED x1 *** Goodbye begins to JRTC

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021

* Greg Hinz

The state of Illinois has bought a West Loop office building, a move that ought to erase any doubt it soon will fully vacate the historic but dilapidated James R. Thompson Center downtown.

In a deal being announced this morning, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office says the state has closed on the $73.3 million purchase of 555 W. Monroe, the former home of PepsiCo. The 18-year-old structure has 430,000 square feet of office space and has green certification for energy efficiency.

More than 1,000—and potentially 1,400—of the 3,500 state workers now based in downtown Chicago eventually will relocate to the new facility, starting in April, according to Ayse Kalaycioglu, chief operating officer of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, which manages the state’s real estate needs.

About 900 of the employees moving to 555 W. Monroe will be coming from the Thompson Center, leaving 1,300 in the structure named after the named the former governor who championed its construction and mourned its declining fortunes. But they won’t be there long, said Kalaycioglu and Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes in an interview late yesterday.

* Dan Petrella

“As part of our analysis, it became readily apparent that we’re spending an inordinate amount of money on leasing costs,” said Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s top fiscal adviser.

Once those leases are terminated, the state will save $21.3 million annually in rent and operating costs. The purchase of the Monroe Street building will be funded with capital bonds, repaid over 25 years at a rate of $5 million to $6 million annually, Hynes said.

The existing leases expire between this year and 2024, with some, including three that will be terminated this year, giving the state an early out with no penalty, Pritzker spokesman Jose Sanchez Molina said.

While the state has 3,500 employees between the Thompson Center and the leased offices, officials determined that only about 900 actually need to be in the Loop, either because of requirements in state law or due to the nature of their work, said Ayse Kalaycioglu, chief operating officer for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services.

*** UPDATE *** Press release…

Governor JB Pritzker today announced the State of Illinois has acquired 555 West Monroe in Chicago’s West Loop for a purchase price of $73.25 million, with annual savings that will more than pay for the building. Eventually, the State will relocate over 1,000 employees to 555, including employees who work in nearby leased facilities as well as those who are currently at the James R. Thompson Center but don’t need to be downtown.

“The acquisition of 555 West Monroe is an important step in our effort to optimize the State’s real estate portfolio, reduce operating expenses, and enhance workforce and workplace performance,” Governor JB Pritzker said. “Since I took office, I’ve been focused on making sure that we manage our assets efficiently and maximize taxpayer savings. This building pays for itself because we’re terminating a patchwork of expensive downtown leases.”

The State leases office space in seven properties in the loop, at a cost of $21.3 million in base rent and operating costs and will continue to seek consolidation opportunities into State-owned real estate.

The acquisition of the building represents the next phase of the State’ review and restructuring of its real estate portfolio. In Phase 1, Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) met with all of the agencies located in downtown Chicago to understand their physical space and geographic location requirements. This was done through the lens of our new space standards, effective as of September 1st, 2020, which more closely reflect current best practices. Through this lens, CMS found that our real estate footprint could be reduced by approximately 30 percent.

As part of this analysis, CMS determined that of the state employees located in downtown Chicago, approximately 2,200 employees at the Thompson Center and 1,300 employees in leased facilities, only about 900 employees require a Loop location. The remainder of the employees can be located elsewhere.

In Phase 2, CMS developed relocation scenarios, performed a financial analysis for the commercial real estate market, identified properties with large, contiguous space, and ultimately acquired 555 West Monroe. The final Phase will include the sale of the Thompson Center.

Due to prolonged deferred maintenance and delayed capital projects, it is estimated that the cost to bring the Thompson Center into a state of good repair exceeds $325M and is projected to increase to over $525M by 2026. The facility is costly to operate with annual operating expenses exceeding $17 million and is the subject of employee dissatisfaction as a result of its design flaws. By selling the oversized, outdated and expensive facility, the State can relocate its core services to more appropriate and efficient replacement spaces. This strategic relocation effort will reduce operating costs, increase productivity, and better serve constituents.

555 was constructed in 2002 and designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. It previously served as a regional office for a Fortune 100 company. In 2008, it achieved LEED Silver for Existing Building certification. LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was created by the U.S. Green Building Council and is an internationally recognized green building certification system to ensure it was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving energy usage, indoor air quality, water efficiency, and selecting building materials that protect our natural resources. By comparison, 555’s annual operating expenses are approximately $10.80 per square foot.

CMS has been reviewing its downtown Chicago real estate portfolio to identify opportunities for efficiency improvements, space consolidation, and other strategies that produce real savings while maintaining a productive workforce.

“This purchase will provide significant operational savings while providing a state-of-the-art location that meets the specific needs of our operations”, said Director of CMS Janel L. Forde.

The State also saved approximately $2.6 million on the purchase by making the acquisition without a broker.

555 is a 429,316 rentable square foot building that includes many attributes that are suitable for State operations. The building is situated in a transit-oriented location, proximate to Union Station and Oglivie Transportation Center and walking distance to Chicago Transit Authority train stations. Unlike many older commercial office buildings, 555 West Monroe is well designed with efficient floor layouts and modern building systems. The existing layouts, as constructed and furnished, are well suited to immediately re-use by the State. Offices are positioned as adjacent to the building center and workstations flank the perimeter affording all occupants daylighting and views. The building has been designed to incorporate modern security protocols including entry lobby turnstile access controls as well as programmable proximity reader access controls on each floor. Operational enhancements, including existing data center, mailroom, and loading dock, are well maintained. Workstations, furniture, select equipment are all included in the acquisition cost.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

86 Comments
  1. - Not a Billionaire - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:30 am:

    It’s not just the state that is going to find it needs fewer employees in the loop. Let’s just say the rest of the office employees have the same ratio…there will be a need for office space for 150000 not 600000 so who will buy JRTC?


  2. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:31 am:

    My big hope is that the new building hosts both the constitutional officers and the agencies that interact most with the public in JRTC: Revenue, Lottery, Secretary of State, Human Rights (am I missing anyone?). I don’t like the idea of the most public-facing agencies and the elected officials being spread out in random office buildings all over town.


  3. - Hmmm - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:39 am:

    The worst office I’ve ever had the displeasure of working in.

    It’s admittedly an interesting looking business and being inside on the ground floor is always really cool. But good God, had to work in there for about a year and it was miserable. Nothing worked.


  4. - blue line - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:40 am:

    my earlier comment didn’t get posted, so im hoping that this one does. getting out of this building is a great first step. its just an awful building and an incredible waste of money. i trust that those making decisions are doing so with the best information and in a way that makes the most sense. i agree with others who hope that as much of government officers and staff can be in the new building as possible.


  5. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:40 am:

    There’s only one way to be sure.

    – MrJM


  6. - ChicagoBars - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:43 am:

    MisterJayEm gets it.

    Best likely case is a lot of Loop office stock gets converted to residential in the next few years. With a lot of the decent ten year office leases negotiated after the Great Recession ending it’s going to be rough for office towers the next several years even if Covid vaccine works well and quickly.


  7. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:43 am:

    While it was very wise to begin closing JRTC under then-Gov. Rauner and finalize the terms under Gov. Pritzker, the goal here is to save the most possible tax dollars annually and in the long term.

    But when we cover a hole with glue and paper and begin opening other smaller 5-7 other holes to ‘fix’ the problem or to save, then this brings us back to square one. Why then go about leasing other smaller area buildings?

    It seems to me like the former Pepisco building can house all downtown-based State employees including the Constitutionals!.

    Yes, JRTC was not properly built and millions were wasted on poor ventilation but let’s do things right and try to save even if paid with capital funds.


  8. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:45 am:

    The James R Thompson Center and the Tamms Super Max.

    Two multi-million dollar white elephants.
    Oh, thank you, Thompson and Edgar.


  9. - anonynon - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:45 am:

    good riddance to this architectural nightmare.


  10. - City Guy - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:45 am:

    It is not as simple as saying “only about 900 need to be in the loop.” One issue is there are benefits to having employees in same building or close by. There are many random interactions that create value. Separating people creates silos and fiefdoms. Its one reason corporations don’t have people scattered in offices all over the place.

    A second issue is scattering offices can impact customer service. The flood plain staff may be fine working outside the loop in a random location, but if the end user has to drive around between offices for EPA, IDNR, IEMA, Historic Preservation, it is bad customer service. It is one reason the state went to One Stop Centers for employment related issues.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have confidence that these and other issues were thought through.


  11. - Friendly Bob Adams - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:45 am:

    Suburban employees will appreciate the shorter walk from Union or Ogilvie stations. Particularly in winter not having to cross the river.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:47 am:

    It was time for it to go during Quinn, it’s time now.

    Hopefully the L stop(s) in and around the facility, the hub of what that property could be will be a big point for any developer.

    Plus, we won’t keep seeing and hearing every budget the magic sale of the property every year.

    Then… if that all fails… There’s only one way to be sure


  13. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:49 am:

    Hey to tourists the JRTC was a ‘masterpiece,’ they would click away with their cameras and pose from the inside of the building looking up in with amazement as the elevator gently rised (or got stuck) to the 16th.


  14. - View from the Cheap Seats - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:52 am:

    Gonna miss that Bourbon Chicken…


  15. - Frumpy White Guy - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:52 am:

    Any chance they can rename the new state owned building the Micheal J. Madigan Center?


  16. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:52 am:

    “Suburban employees will appreciate the shorter walk from Union or Ogilvie stations..”

    True Friendly Bob…it was brutal during the cold winter season trying to walk forward while the strong gusts hit your face.


  17. - Essential State Employee - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:52 am:

    Maybe if Lucas could have been patient and waited at least 5 more years, maybe the State could have offered him the JRTC for the Lucas Museum rather than his goal of the lakefront? Since the JRTC looks like something from Star Wars to begin with. With a special permanent exhibit devoted to “Running Scared.”


  18. - Essential State Employee - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:55 am:

    Can an alternative building/site be renamed in honor of Gov. Thompson after the JRTC closes and demolished? What about something at the State Fairgrounds since he loved the Fair a lot? (Or even at DuQuoin).


  19. - Sox Fan - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:55 am:

    Nice upgrade for anyone moving over there from JRTC


  20. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:56 am:

    The thai place across the street is good. A few other decent places for lunch are nearby. Before the pandemic, the French market (about 2 blocks north) had several options and would have someone new in it every couple of months. If Beaver’s doughnuts is still there I would suggest giving them a try, the kosher deli and the BBQ place were also worth the walk.

    Also a block north there is a whisky themed bar called toasted that is worth your time.

    Unfortunately, the Walmart in Presidential Towers closed a few years ago. Welcome to the neighborhood.


  21. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:57 am:

    “Suburban employees will appreciate the shorter walk from Union or Ogilvie stations”

    City commuters are not going to appreciate the longer walks to the CTA lines (especially the Red line)…but I guess it’s a flip of what the Metra commuters have had to deal with for decades.


  22. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:58 am:

    End of an Era: MJM and JRTC both titans sink…2021

    a new day: The Judy Baar Topinka State Building at 555 W. Monroe St. Chicago.


  23. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 9:59 am:

    What’s gonna happen with Ronny’s Steakhouse? Is it moving too?


  24. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:00 am:

    === What’s gonna happen with Ronny’s Steakhouse? Is it moving too?===

    If you meant it as snark, apologies, I think it’s closing or already closed, no?


  25. - Alice - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:01 am:

    So will the employees not going to 555- will they be going to other locations or has the transition to work from home really happening with the state.


  26. - Kayak - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:05 am:

    This building looks brand new and is only a block from Amtrak. Can we move in February I instead? Win, Win.


  27. - Give Us Barabbas - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:05 am:

    I don’t see a lot of parking… Unless you count the bumper to bumper on the 290 Exchange.


  28. - Frank talks - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:20 am:

    Good for suburbanites to get a shorter walk from Ogilive and Union Station. Bad for city residents as closest L stop is about 6-7 blocks.


  29. - Steve Rogers - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:25 am:

    What does this mean for the Bilandic Building?


  30. - Drake Mallard - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:26 am:

    The Constitutional officers who will probably stay in the mabb located across the street from the jrtc. It is the old state of Illinois Building. Currently the Supreme Court and Madigan’s offices are in it. Constitutional officers need to be downtown by City Hall.


  31. - Pacman - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:30 am:

    About 4 or 5 years ago when I was working at IDOR we were looking at moving into unused space that IDOL had at their offices on Wabash, I think it was 36 W. Wabash if my memory serves. Apparently it never came to fruition.


  32. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:30 am:

    Thanks be to God, and there is great rejoicing in the land.


  33. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:33 am:

    Drake Mallard - That’s a good point. It would probably be best to keep the constitutional officers in the Bilandic and move those agencies to the new building.


  34. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:41 am:

    == I don’t see a lot of parking… ==

    Actually, there is quite a bit in the neighborhood. You have a lot just to the west. You have the parking garage in Presidential towers. There is Amtrak parking about 2 blocks away.
    Also some other smaller lots.


  35. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:45 am:

    3,500 hundred state workers in downtown Chicago.

    2,100 at the JRTC

    900 move to 555 Monroe

    The balance? Right now about as an important of a question as 555 Monroe was the right answer to the problem of the JRTC.

    Those jobs stay in Chicago, move to a burb? Relocate downstate? I’d think with all the video conferencing we can do now, it would be a good time to bring some of those folks to Springfield.

    This little town needs boost right now and I’d take a few hundred “new” jobs in town to help out the economy.


  36. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:45 am:

    Regarding parking - For JRTC, the state has a partnership with surrounding garages so there’s a discounted rate for those coming in for state business. I would hope something similar is worked out so it’s not just asking all visitors to find local street parking/random garages.


  37. - Anonamoose - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:49 am:

    If our agency actually goes there and if I actually work from an office again, then my commute from the suburbs would be even shorter. I’m in!


  38. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:54 am:

    What’s going to happen to the JRTC long sections of taped carpet?

    Transferred it to the new building?


  39. - Ok - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 10:54 am:

    $170 per square foot is quite the bargain.


  40. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:00 am:

    Cool Papa, why bring the jobs to Springfield. Springfield residents will tell you they believe in smaller government and doing more with less? Many Springfield residents use any chance to bash Chicago, Democrats and government, they shouldn’t be interested in people from Chicago moving to Springfield.


  41. - Levois J - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:02 am:

    I wonder about the future of the JRTC. Will it be torn down or will a private developer give it the TLC it needs?


  42. - Scott Cross for President - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:02 am:

    Congratulations to JB and his team for getting this done. Big achievement. Governors have been talking, planning budgetgaming this for years and years and it seemed almost too big and complicated to tackle.

    Also, leases and brokerage fees often have powerful friends. Hat tip to the CMS team and Hynes for doing the right thing and pushing back on both.


  43. - midway gardens - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:06 am:

    Does this state do anything well? Built a terribly inefficient building, let it fall into serious repair and are finally ready to sell at a very bad time for downtown commercial real estate. Though the end state of being at the junction of many CTA lines is positive, there are huge transitional engineering costs and the CTA / City will have their hands out for temporary stations.


  44. - Anonamoose - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:07 am:

    The only thing I’d miss about the JRTC would be the Panda Express downstairs.


  45. - DuPage - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:09 am:

    Is anyone going to pay for the JRTC? Maybe they could donate it to some non-profit?


  46. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:09 am:

    == Will it be torn down or will a private developer give it the TLC it needs? ==

    Most likely torn down. To redo it correctly, including the irig


  47. - Pacman - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:10 am:

    Anon. @ 11:08 was me


  48. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:11 am:

    == Will it be torn down or will a private developer give it the TLC it needs? ==

    Better let CTA know as it has their hub underneath the JRTC; a monstrosity of an expense to re-route.


  49. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:13 am:

    Darn phone …

    to rehab the JRTC correctly, including the original spec’ed glass instead of the cost cutting cheap stuff, will likely cost more than demo and rebuilding new with more efficient use of the space.

    Or the State could skip the myth of selling it and redevelop it as a park / green space while retaining the below ground infrastructure.


  50. - stateandlake - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:14 am:

    The only time it was ever comfortable in that building was when the outside temperature was over 90 degrees F and the HVAC was cranked up to capacity. And I can only imagine how much worse it’s gotten in the 9+ years since I moved out of there.


  51. - ChicagoBars - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:24 am:

    If I’m doing the math right, and if the Internet is correct that JRTC the annual operating expenses for it are $14.17+ so pretty decent savings for State right there if 555 W Madison operating costs are only $10.80 square foot.

    Though most of that nearly $1.6M a year property tax payment for 555 will surely be missed until JRTC is fully redeveloped/nuked from space/waterparked.


  52. - jimbo26 - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:26 am:

    Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes needs to look at the leasing costs in Springfield too.


  53. - ChicagoBars - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:28 am:

    Ronny’s Steak House (last place to get a legal beer in the JRTC IIRC) closed for good in September. Eater Chicago wrote a nice send off and history of that fine institution.

    https://chicago.eater.com/2020/9/8/21427128/ronnys-steakhouse-closing-downtown-loop-chicago


  54. - City Guy - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:30 am:

    The proposal I liked for redoing the building was by Helmut Jahn. It kept the main structure and added a supertall structure in the southwest corner of the building. It is a great location for office, hotel and residences with direct trains to both airports.


  55. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:37 am:

    @ City Guy…. thanks but no thanks, Helmut Jahn. Let’s consider other architects.


  56. - Cheswick - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:39 am:

    When the state of Illinois decides to buy a property as opposed to leasing it, does it consider the effects on the community by taking that property off of the real estate tax rolls? Or is that not even a consideration? I’ve always been curious about this.


  57. - Behind the Scenes - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:45 am:

    Does JRTC still leak when it rains?


  58. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:48 am:

    == Deputy Gov. Dan Hynes needs to look at the leasing costs in Springfield too. ==

    FWIW … I know someone who has been working for years on redoing state leases all around the state and consolidating office space of multiple locations / agencies into common space. The upside is often cost savings and sometimes more efficient operation. The downside is sometimes it results in there only being 1 office for 2 or more counties, making it less convenient for citizens trying to use the services in person.


  59. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:50 am:

    == does it consider the effects on the community by taking that property off of the real estate tax rolls? ==

    I don’t know how much they look at that today. I do know at one time they used to route some extra money to Springfield / Sangamon County because of it.


  60. - Anonamoose - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:53 am:

    “Does JRTC still leak when it rains?”

    Yes.


  61. - From DaZoo - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:56 am:

    A few years ago, IDOT moved out of JRTC across the street to Cook County building. I wonder if they’ll have to move, again. About a quarter (?) of the office space was for staff that also have office space in Springfield. So unless there will be more office sharing at 555, I’m not sure how they will meet that office space reduction.


  62. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    @Give Me A Break

    = Springfield residents will tell you they believe in smaller government and doing more with less? = Names? I don’t feel that way.

    =Many Springfield residents use any chance to bash Chicago, Democrats and government, they shouldn’t be interested in people from Chicago moving to Springfield.=

    People from Chicago? You mean Illinois residents moving to another town in Illinois?

    Yikes, I thought the Eastern Bloc was leading the two states drivel. Guess it’s alive and well in “Chicago” “Chicagoland” “Upstate” “North of 80″


  63. - Third Reading - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 11:58 am:

    I hear that Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelter is urging the governor to tear down the building and turn the block into a gravel surface-level parking lot.

    Rename it the Springfield block.


  64. - Sir Reel - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 12:06 pm:

    But, but where will they film Running Scared 2?


  65. - OneMan - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 12:07 pm:

    === Is anyone going to pay for the JRTC? ===

    It’s going to be a waterpark. People are going to pay to visit it!


  66. - Cool Papa Bell - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 12:16 pm:

    @Third - Pretty good…


  67. - Essential State Employee - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 12:28 pm:

    ==But, but where will they film Running Scared 2?==

    Maybe film it in Springfield and have the dramatic scenes in the State Fair Coliseum?


  68. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 12:31 pm:

    @Third - “Y-Block 2″ could very well happen at the site of the recently-closed YMCA several blocks south of the Y block (4th and Cook). (It moved to 4th and Carpenter around Christmas).

    A story in last Thursday’s Illinois Times expressed concern about that possibility:

    https://www.illinoistimes.com/springfield/springfield-home-of-wasted-opportunities/Content?oid=13093980


  69. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 12:37 pm:

    Cool Papa Bell,

    I don’t think the state can really afford to whole sale relocate staff right now. First it would have to pay relocation costs for the employees. 2ndly it would have to hire new staff to fill positions of people who don’t want to relocate. Many people have spouses with careers that they don’t want to leave as well as schools that their children are attending. Also I would guess most of the state jobs in Chicagoland are located there because of a need for northern Illinoisians to access services or to interface with northern IL city governments, so not really making sense to move them.


  70. - Colin Robinson - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 12:43 pm:

    JRTC space still seems like a good place for a casino hotel.


  71. - Lincoln Lad - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 12:49 pm:

    Shortcuts and cost cuts during construction doomed the JRTC from the start. It wasn’t built as spec’d. Watching the deterioration over the years has been like watching it die.


  72. - Scooter - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 1:10 pm:

    From DaZoo -

    Two years into this administration and IDOT is still running on a bare-bones executive staff, with lots of Rauner-leftover “acting” directors, and (most of) the few new appointees proving to be uninspired at best. Remote office space for these administrators (at the County building office) isn’t anywhere near a quarter of the IDOT floor’s area, but what’s there for them hasn’t really been used in two years.


  73. - From DaZoo - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 1:45 pm:

    @ Scooter

    My take on lack of executive staff partly stems from even the Secretary still not being confirmed (still acting). Also, I would argue things improved at IDOT during Rauner over the Blagojevich and Quinn years. Admittedly that was partly due to court oversight. I was guessing on current office space usage, knowing that at least the Secretary and few directors have duplicate office space.

    Back to the post and other comments…
    My brain (and Google) reminded me there was legislation passed in 2018 that made Springfield the default location for State jobs. So some of this office space reduction may simply be a result of implementing the law.


  74. - Ferris Bueller - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 2:32 pm:

    It’s hard to fathom how 900 employees have to remain in the loop “either because of requirements in state law or due to the nature of their work.” It’s not like the new building is in the boonies, it’s a pretty short walk (I’ve made the JRTC to DHS office building walk tons of times and it’s very close to the new building). Hope my agency moves though, the JRTC is a hole (haven’t missed being in there a bit while working from home).


  75. - Lurker - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 3:05 pm:

    @Third Reading

    *like button pressed*


  76. - State Employee - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 3:11 pm:

    I was hoping the state could save even more money on space by still allowing state employees who perform mostly administrative tasks to continue working from home. Maybe each building could have some shared space just in case a remote employee needed to come in once or twice a month.


  77. - Alice - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 3:21 pm:

    State Employee-
    I think this is a sign that they are moving towards a permanent work from home or some type of rotational office/home. My office went paperless a few years ago and that made working from home during this pandemic easier. I really don’t see a scenario in which my whole office goes back considering the high rent and upcoming lease. I think all offices will downsize for a quarter of staff and training rooms.


  78. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 3:43 pm:

    == First it would have to pay relocation costs for the employees ==

    In my experience the State has rarely paid relocation fees except for very top level management or political appointees. Run of the mill employees just got the choice of rel


  79. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 3:44 pm:

    … of relocating on their own dime, finding a different opening, or just losing their job.


  80. - Not a Billionaire - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 4:21 pm:

    Alice. My point above. Chicago Loop alliance still has the area vacant. I am not sure there has been planning at especially local area for this. Also will have big impact transportation demand.


  81. - Jerry - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 4:35 pm:

    RUNG, do you think there will be work from home on a permanent basis especially since the cost is less for the State and production is up. Some people have to work downtown because of ADA reasons or if they work from home the issue is moot. I know two people in a different department that are friends who can’t drive at night so they have ADA and were working downtown in order to be able to take public transportation which is not accessible in the suburbs to suburb locations or very minimally accessible to the point of being worthless. One lives by the Metra and can take it into Chicago and the other one takes the CTA from the southwest side. They can’t work in the suburbs do to their ADA issues. I don’t want to be moved into a suburban location either because they are all far away and would be very long commutes so I am hoping they keep WAH or move to the new building


  82. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 4:59 pm:

    == be work from home on a permanent basis … ==

    Work from home requires management trust the employees are working and not goofing off. The State had to adjust to work from home because they had no choice … but I don’t know if that will be a permanent change in mindset. I don’t know but my gut says no …


  83. - thisjustinagain - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 6:27 pm:

    If they need room for some offices/agencies outside the City, there’s a state building in Midlothian that’s been vacant for 10 years at least. But by now they’d probably have to gut the building and repave the parking lot; it’s had “For Sale” signs on it with zero interest, and signs of neglect and damage are evident.


  84. - Anon - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 6:35 pm:

    Ferris - As one example, I imagine the AG will stay in the same area to be near the Daley center, for example. (Although I think some AG employees are housed outside the JRTC).


  85. - Not a Billionaire - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 8:44 pm:

    I don’t know about the state but work from home has been a success for the employers and saved a lot of money.


  86. - Not a Billionaire - Wednesday, Jan 27, 21 @ 8:52 pm:

    United the fourth largest downtown tenant cut its Willis Tower space by a third. It seems they have had people in but they admit covid changed their business forever.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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