Illinois to Auction off James R. Thompson Center

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Because of Illinois' very large deficit, Governor Bruce Rauner wants to auction off the James R. Thompson Center, which is described as the "landmark" Thompson Center by ABC 7. The 17-story building in downtown Chicago opened in 1985 and was designed by architect Helmut Jahn. The building is designed with an atrium going all the way to the top. Balconies on each floor containing state offices look down on the atrium. The lower level has a food court and connects to a CTA subway station. The governor, standing in the building's atrium, told WGN that the taxpayers have to heat and cool the huge 17-story open space that is at the heart of the buildings interior design. The outside is clad in glass, and the building's curved and squat appearence contrasts with more traditional-looking buildings nearby. The carpeting upstairs in the various offices has not been replaced in 30 years, and other expensive repairs are needed in the millions of dollars. If and when the building is sold, it will have to be torn down, because its design would not lend itself for use as a commercial office building. Former Republican Governor James Thompson, for whom the building is named, tried to convince the administration of defeated former Democratic Governor Pat Quin to make the necessary investment to maintain and refurbish the building, but he did not do so. Former Democratic Chicago Congressman and Governor Rod Blagojevich had a plan to sell and then lease back the building, but the plan was blocked by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who thought it to be against the Illinois state Constitution. The atrium and unique design of the building once made it something of a minor tourist attraction in the governmental district of downtown. The food court was convenient for someone wanting fast food. The building contains a small state art gallery.

Robindell's picture
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm


Incurring debt has its consequences.

hollygolightly's picture
Jul. 28, 2015 5:49 am

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