The state's main office building in Chicago is up for sale.
The 30-year-old James R. Thompson Center is "ineffective" and "wasteful" according to Gov. Bruce Rauner, and he estimates moving workers elsewhere can save the state $6 million to $12 million per year.
Within the next twelve months, Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to auction off the building and move its 2,200 state employees either into existing state-owned space or lease new space, though it's possible Chicago-based positions could move to Springfield.
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"We want each department to have the best impact, the best work environment for the members who work for the people of Illinois," Rauner said. "Many will remain here in Chicago. I imagine some will move to Springfield."
Rauner says the motivation behind the sale isn't to reduce the number of state employees working in Chicago, but rather "just good management."
Without commenting on the building's supposed architectural significance, Rauner says employees would be happy to work elsewhere, citing the noise created by the building's open floor plan and large atrium. There's also the issue of the building's deteriorating condition, with rips in carpets covered with tape and noticeable rust stains and water damage in public areas.
"We've got over $100 million worth of deferred maintenance and repairs needed here in the next few years that are really not compelling to make," Rauner said.
Rauner says the building has been appraised, though he wouldn't say for how much. He expects it will be torn down, with developers able to replace the 16-story structure with a 60-story building on the same site without any zoning changes.
The sale would have to be approved by the legislature. Rauner says he's discussed it with both House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, and he believes they're "forward-leaning and positive" about the idea.