A bill approving the sale of the James R. Thompson Center,an iconic Downtown Chicago building located right in the heart of The Loop,has landed on the governor’s desk for his signature. Located near The Streeter and other serviced apartment rentals,the Thompson Center was designed by iconic architect Helmut Jahn. Many preservationists in the city don’t want to see the building sold because they are afraid that new owners will tear it down,but those who work in the building say that they hate it there.
SB886 would force the offices that state workers occupy now to move across the street to another building in the meantime. Newly elected Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker of the famed Pritzker family has 60 days to make a decision on the bill,a decision that will undoubtedly anger some residents and workers no matter what. For those who live in corporate housing nearby and work in the center,the decision to sell the building is something they’ve wanted to see happy for a long time.
While the future of the bill is uncertain,Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh made no doubts about it and makes it clear that Prtizker intends to sign the bill.
“The governor supports selling the Thompson Center,” she said in a statement.
First passed in 2017 by lawmakers in the House and Senate,the bill had a motion to reconsider which put a pause on the efforts. Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) lifted that motion back in January,setting the stage for a potentially historic sale that could result in a windfall of cash for the state,a figure that some say could reach $300M.
“The administration believes revenue from the sale can be more effectively used than for the operating budget,including both reducing unfunded pension liabilities and paying down the bill backlog,” Abudayyeh said.