Illinois Governor Jay Robert Pritzker has put the James R Thompson Center in Chicago up or sale. J. B. Pritzker signed a bill on April 5, 2019, paving the way for the sale of the massive 17-storey structure designed by German-American architect Helmut Jahn.
The James R Thompson Center, located at 100 W. Randolph Street in the Loop district of Chicago, is considered as one of the finest examples of postmodern architecture in the city. However, the building was never given the title of a historical landmark, and thus was unprotected from future sale or demolition.
The sale of the building was first proposed by first Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich as a means to assuage the state budget. The proposal, though first agreed to by lawmakers, was heavily criticized. The plan was declared unconstitutional by the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in June 2004, and a mortgage of $200 million was agreed to instead.
The signing of the bill by the governor forms part of the continued controversy surrounding the fate of the iconic building.
Pritzker’s spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said the sale of the building “is long overdue and will allow the state to leverage one of our biggest assets to help stabilize the pension system.”
The Thompson Center has been subject to several years of delayed maintenance and neglect. Under the provisional timeline of its sales plan, the state would issue a Request For Proposal (RFP) within a year.
It is certain that the state will face a certain degree of public backlash against the possibility of tearing down a well-known building designed by one of the world’s most famous architects.