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Google eyeing Thompson Center as it plans to add 1,000 jobs in Chicago

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2022

* Ryan Ori

Google is negotiating to buy the spaceship-like James R. Thompson Center in Chicago in a deal that could provide a much-needed boost to the city’s Loop business district.

The Mountain View, California-based tech giant is seeking to buy the Helmut Jahn-designed building at 100 W. Randolph St., where it plans to expand its Chicago offices into a large portion of the 17-story building’s soon-to-be-renovated office space, according to people familiar with the deal.

It’s the latest twist for a 37-year-old building that faced the wrecking ball until Chicago developer Prime Group emerged last year with a plan to buy it from the state for $70 million.

* Crain’s

Google plans to add 1,000 jobs in Chicago in the next few years and is looking for more office space to accommodate them in a surprising location: LaSalle Street. […]

“Chicago continues to be an important and growing hub for Google here in the Midwest,” a Google spokeswoman said in an e-mail. “What started as a two-person outpost in River North has expanded to a two-building campus that’s home to nearly 2,000 employees in Fulton Market. As Google grows in Chicago, we’ll continue to explore opportunities to ensure our physical space meets the needs of local Googlers.” […]

But Gov. J.B. Pritzker told Crain’s today: “I’m excited that Google appears to be expanding its presence and its jobs in Chicago.” Asked directly if that expansion might involve the purchase of the Thompson Center, he would say only, “That’s not something I can talk about. . . .I’m not at liberty to talk about it.”

But Google could try to inject itself into the deal by purchasing the Thompson Center for its own use and finding a different destination for the state’s offices. A source familiar with the discussions said one option could be the LaSalle Street property that BMO Harris Bank is vacating at 115 S. LaSalle St., which Reschke is also nearing a deal to buy.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - H-W - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 2:53 pm:

    Griffin takes 1,000 jobs with him to Florida, and Google brings 1,000 jobs to Chicago. Wouldn’t that be a hoot if it happens.


  2. - Oneman - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 2:57 pm:

    A water park would be a huge employee perk that would encourage people to come into the office, just saying…


  3. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 2:59 pm:

    That should more than cover the job losses from Quitadel.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 2:59 pm:

    “But, but… but… Griffin left… and everything…

    … Illinois is awful”

    - IPI, Wirepoints… etc


  5. - don the legend - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:04 pm:

    Bailey Campaign: See, those west coast liberal companies hate conservative downstate Elinoisans.


  6. - Publius - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:05 pm:

    Unlike the random “HQs” people complain about these are actual workers who will live in Chicago and the suburbs. However I checked just a moment ago and no mention on other local new outlets. Guess that doesn’t fit the narrative.


  7. - Just Sayin - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:07 pm:

    ==“But, but… but… Griffin left… and everything…

    … Illinois is awful”==

    “But, but, but… the JRTC itself is awful. It’s 120 degrees inside and the roofs have leaked for 30 years”


  8. - Just Sayin - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:08 pm:

    ==Google is negotiating to buy the spaceship-like James R. Thompson Center ==

    If Google comes to Chicago and needs more space, the spaceship-like Soldier Field might also be available in a few years.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:09 pm:

    ===the JRTC itself is awful.===

    And?

    You wanna discourage Google?

    lol

    Is this IPI?


  10. - Baloneymous - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:12 pm:

    ===the JRTC itself is awful.===

    I’m sure Google with their billions and billions can fix the temperature issues at the JRTC. And they could also install a water park. I have high hopes.


  11. - hmmmm - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:16 pm:

    net gain. it’s always about the net gain.


  12. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:18 pm:

    Mr/Ms Just Sayin’
    If the JRTC center was constructed with the original design it might not be bad, but the Googgs need to insist the rebuild does that.


  13. - Just Sayin - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:20 pm:

    ==I’m sure Google with their billions and billions can fix the temperature issues at the JRTC. ==

    The State also has billions and billions and yet they can’t regularly maintain their existing buildings.


  14. - silicon prairie - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:22 pm:

    Maybe Google could clean up the elevators since it is all covered in urine right now. No one ever cleans the subway and elevated levels of the T Center


  15. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:27 pm:

    ==It’s 120 degrees inside==

    That was fixed more than 30 years ago.


  16. - Mr K - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:40 pm:

    How about recreating Old Chicago in the JRTC’s atrium?

    For those of us old enough to remember Old Chicago — it’d be something pretty cool. Maybe not a great office environment — but fun (and plenty of space — just like the original OC).


  17. - PMS - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:43 pm:

    ==That was fixed more than 30 years ago.==
    True - but its hanging around 80 in here right now. I have a wall stat on my cubicle.


  18. - Give Us Barabbas - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:51 pm:

    The article mentions another office building in the mix, but my take is, Google likes to make a statement, and if you’ve been to their Fulton Market spaces, as I have, they like a quirky mix of old and new, funky, functional, and futuristic. Rehabbing the JRTC to work for them is chump change, but the visual branding statement it makes for them to take over part of JRTC and hang their shingle there, would be similar to having a prime spot on times Square in NYC.


  19. - Baloneymous - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:53 pm:

    ===The State also has billions and billions and yet they can’t regularly maintain their existing buildings.===

    I would refer you to the state’s capital bill that’s fixing up the Armory building in Springfield. And just today they announced millions to fix up buildings and roads on the Illinois state fairgrounds. And there are other projects underway as well.


  20. - North Park - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:55 pm:

    Kinda bummed hearing about Harris leaving LaSalle St. Never trust a Canadian acquisition.


  21. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 3:55 pm:

    Google adding 1,000 jobs is a huge boost. If they end up in the JRTC all the better. And suggesting that the building is somehow deficient misses the point as I believe the reason for the sale was so the new owner could address the underlying issues that make the current building a lousy place to work.


  22. - Retired Lobster - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 4:13 pm:

    The building is still a piece of…junk. I pity the people who will be working there. That building has physical issues that cannot be corrected.


  23. - Benjamin - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 4:26 pm:

    I assume Google knows what they’re getting into .I’d definitely be interested to hear how the JRTC could be rehabbed/upgraded to be more functional. It could well be that it just takes money, but it doesn’t make sense for the state to spend it when they can get generic office space for less–especially in today’s real estate market.

    ==If Google comes to Chicago and needs more space, the spaceship-like Soldier Field might also be available in a few years.==

    I know you’re mostly joking, but keep in mind Soldier Field will also host the Chicago Fire now. It’s going to see more use than ever .


  24. - New Day - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 4:32 pm:

    Welcome to the hellhole. Senator Bailey, any comment on crazy Google creating two thousand jobs in Chicago?


  25. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 5:03 pm:

    Bailey’s take: More elites in Chicago make it even more of an elite hellhole.


  26. - Give Us Barabbas - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 5:04 pm:

    Google to interns; “plan and program some lcd window overlays to control and regulate interior solar gain”.

    “You want that by Monday?”

    Just saying Google knows technology.


  27. - Steve - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 5:11 pm:

    This is very good news. It shows that Illinois can compete in certain industries. Certain very important industries like high tech. A win is a win.


  28. - Henry Francis - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 5:22 pm:

    Typical elitist hellhole reporting. Why don’t we ever hear about businesses moving to or expanding in Xenia?


  29. - MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 5:29 pm:

    “Google is negotiating to buy the spaceship-like James R. Thompson Center in Chicago”

    Ken Who?

    – MrJM


  30. - Suburban Mom - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 9:22 pm:

    ===It shows that Illinois can compete in certain industries. Certain very important industries like high tech.===

    As a tech worker in Chicago(’s suburbs), I definitely feel like big tech is under-invested in Chicago. There are some larger tech employers here (Salesforce has a big staff; Groupon; a bunch of industry-specific niche companies (like Black Spectacles, which serves architectural firms)). But man, especially with UIUC churning out top-notch computer science grads (including the founders of YouTube), FAANG companies are wildly underhiring in Chicago. There’s so much talent in Chicago available to be picked up by big tech, especially now that so many of their teams are remote.

    I feel like as hiring has gotten more competitive for top tech talent over the past couple years, big tech companies have gotten a lot more willing to hire Chicago-area talent who don’t want to move — and I think Google wanting the Thompson Center is a validation of that ambition.

    Most other big metros already have tech hubs, or a neighboring tech hub, but Chicago isn’t really known for one — and I think that’s ripe for change, as there’s no Midwestern city that’s really known as a tech hub, but there’s SO much tech talent here via the Big Ten and simply by virtue of Chicago being such a big city. Whatever FAANG company first decides to make Chicago a major hiring target (and doesn’t require workers to move) will pick up a LOT of underutilized talent, and that’s important.


  31. - H-W - Wednesday, Jun 29, 22 @ 9:37 pm:

    @SuburbanMom - Not to mention Western Illinois University churning out top-notch cyber security graduates.


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