Chicago has a reputation as a great architectural city, and few would say it's because of the James R. Thompson Center.
The Rauner administration has revived the idea of finding a way to get rid of the much-maligned state office building, criticized as being unattractive, inefficient, and neglected. But some developer could pay the state big bucks for its Chicago office building just for the chance to replace it. Bob Reed, director of programming for the Better Government Association, wonders about that.
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“Do you take a scorched-earth policy and knock it down and start all over again, or do you take the building as it currently is and try to find some way of revitalizing it?” he says. “There's a lot of arguments that can be made throughout each of those issues, and it's just a matter of time how the Rauner administration wants to move forward.”
Reed, adding he's concerned about transparency, says a replacement building would change the character of what's become kind of a government neighborhood in the Loop.
He adds that architectural critic and urban planner Lee Bey says the JRTC is a busy, bustling, active place, what with its soaring atrium and glass elevators.