CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Bruce Rauner is looking into moving his Chicago office from the James R. Thompson Center to the Michael A. Bilandic Building across the street.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports the governor said he wanted to complete a sale of the Thompson Center by late next year, but appears ready to move out a lot sooner.
A spokesman for the governor concedes “the Bilandic building is among the options being explored, but no decisions have been made.”
Two sources tell us the governor himself recently toured the building checking out possible new digs.
The Bilandic Building already houses offices and courtrooms for the Illinois Supreme Court and the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court, as well as state legislative offices, and several state agencies.
Rauner has previously said he wants to sell the costly Thompson Center, and move state employees who work there to other office space.
The governor would like a deal to sell the Thompson Center completed by the end of next year, and he plans to seek approval of the Illinois General Assembly, which might not be an easy feat, given the months-long budget stalemate between the Democratic-controlled legislature and the Republican governor.
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for state government in Chicago was built in the mid 1980s,and designed by architect Helmut Jahn, but is considered outdated and in need of much-needed maintenance, something the state, with its massive, multi-billion dollar budget deficit, cannot afford.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 has said he wants to auction the prime piece of downtown real estate to raise cash and get rid of costly upkeep.
The governor said the building needs $100 million in maintenance in the next few years. He said selling the building and moving state workers elsewhere could save the state between $6 million and $12 million annually. He called it a “good move” for taxpayers.
Rauner’s main office is in Springfield at the Illinois State Capitol.