State Signs Sale Of Thompson Center In The Loop

Current view of enclosed atrium at Thompson Center by Ian Achong

The State of Illinois has officially signed a contract selling the Thompson Center at 100 W Randolph Street in The Loop. The controversial but architecturally significant building located on the corner with N Clark Street will now receive a multi-million dollar renovation that will forever change its appearance and use. The winning bid for the center came from the Prime Group headed by Michael Reschke with JAHN Architects, the firm of the center’s original architect Helmut Jahn, leading the design efforts for the renovation.

Southeast rendering of rehabbed Thompson Center by JAHN Architects

The massive mid-rise appears shorter than it is as it consumes a whole city block adjacent to City Hall, rising 308 feet in height with a 160-foot-tall rotunda space that pierces through all floor, the building was originally constructed to serve as a second state capitol in the largest city. The soaring atrium is illuminated by a slanted skylight and wall opening facing south east capturing the morning sun and framing downtown, around it are open corridors, and red-colored exposed vertical circulation elements that portray a dynamic image of openness

Western rendering of rehabbed Thompson Center by JAHN Architects

The same things that make the structure unique also make it expensive, the state pays roughly $17 million a year in maintenance and has roughly $325 million in deferred repairs it needs to perform. The sale alleviates the state from those debts, with the contract now signed, Prime Group will pay $70 million to take over the land this summer and execute a gut rehab of the facility including opening the atrium to the outdoors and enclosing the work floors to reduce heat expenses, as well as renovated all of the floors.

Inner atrium rendering of rehabbed Thompson Center by JAHN Architects

The work will include offices for various state departments that will occupy the second to seventh floors at around 427,000 square feet which the state will buy back for $146 million after renovations in 2024. The new space will include access to some of the new outdoor terraces that will be built on the structure’s angled facade, the CTA State and Lake station will also continue to operate including during construction on site, while some jobs will be transferred to the nearby tower at 555 W Monroe Street.

Main atrium entrance rendering of rehabbed Thompson Center by JAHN Architects

The larger construction project will cost around $280 million for the 1.2 million-square-foot structure, this includes the aforementioned reconstructed atrium, new vertical circulation, new entry plaza and ground floor with retail, completely renovated office spaces, new exterior cladding with added terraces, and the potential for a hotel component to be added. Work on this is expected to begin this year with much of it completed by 2024, and final touches wrapping up in 2025. As to whether any of the Post-Modern color elements will remain has yet to be announced.

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6 Comments on "State Signs Sale Of Thompson Center In The Loop"

  1. $325 million in deferred maintenance? At this point, wouldn’t it be simpler just to demolish the building and start over?

  2. Steve River Northq | April 2, 2022 at 10:20 am | Reply

    So Prime is buying it for $70M, putting $280M into rehabbing it, then selling it back for $146M. They PLAN on losing $204M? Is this the worst flip in history or am i missing something?

    • Hey Steve! So its a slightly confusing transaction, the building needs $325 million in repairs, if not dealt with by 2025 it would rise above $500 million. so the state is selling it for $70 million, Prime will remodel the entirety of the building including removing the existing facade and heavily remodeling new offices for the state. They will be selling the office space back to the state for $146 million, with the goal being that in the end the state will have paid $76 million (removing the 70 being gained) for new offices they own and taking the building off of their hands for someone else to maintain as well, according to Crains.

      in the end though the state is spending money to stay in the building, albeit at a slightly smaller scale.

      • I think Steve’s point is that it’s a bad deal for the developer, not for the State. Obviously some details must be missing in the summary above, because it looks like the developer is going to lose a ton of money in the process. So obviously there is much more involved.

        • Its important to note the state will only be buying back their office floors, the developer will own the rest of the building and land, it is also zoned for a skyscraper if they wish to add to it at any point. So in the end the developer is making $76 million off of those floors and walking away with the whole building.

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