CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Bruce Rauner has announced plans to ask state lawmakers to allow him to unload the costly Thompson Center in the Loop, and move 2,200 state employees to other office space.
The headquarters for state government in Chicago was built in the mid 1980s,and designed by architect Helmut Jahn, but is considered outdated and in need of much-needed maintenance, something the state, with its massive, multi-billion dollar budget deficit, cannot afford.
The man it’s named for, former Gov. James Thompson, has famously called the building a “scrap heap.”
Rauner said the open design of the glass and steel building, with a soaring 17-story atrium, makes it noisy and smelly from the food court in the basement. He said it also costs taxpayers a fortune to heat and cool.
“Right now, relative to the cost in the regular office market – the average market downtown – we’re paying triple per person. We’re paying three times as much here as we would if we just did this as a normal office lease,” he said.