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Illinois selling James R. Thompson Center in Chicago

Illinois selling James R. Thompson Center in Chicago

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Thompson Center - File Photo

In this March 19, 2013 file photo, soprano Renee Fleming performs with world-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma and a choir of dozens of high school students in the rotunda of the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois officially placed the James R. Thompson Center that houses state government offices in downtown Chicago up for sale, state officials said Monday.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services took a step that has been in the works for years. Illinois officials have argued the 17-story building designed by celebrated architect Helmut Jahn is a drain on state finances because it's inefficient to operate and in need of hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs.

"Selling the property provides a unique opportunity to maximize taxpayer savings, create thousands of union jobs, generate millions of dollars in real estate taxes to benefit the City of Chicago and spur economic development," Pritzker said in a news release.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker responds to a question on Friday, April 30, about whether he is considering implementing "vaccine passports" for residents.

The expectation among officials is that the 3-acre site will be of interest to developers looking to raze the building. Preservationists have argued the glassy building, or at least its towering atrium, should be kept as part of any redevelopment.

Officials say offers for the Thompson Center — named after a former Illinois governor — are due by Aug. 16, and a buyer is expected to be chosen by November.

Earlier this year, the state purchased an office building previously leased to PepsiCo, where state employees from several Chicago office buildings, including the Thompson Center, will be relocated. The move would save Illinois about $21 million each year. That's what it spends in rent and operating costs at seven different office buildings in Chicago, according to Pritzker's office.

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