By Yolanda Perdomo, CBS Digital Producer
CHICAGO (CBS) — A government building that has been called everything from a spaceship to the people’s postmodern palace is on a list of endangered buildings that include everything from a tennis club to a South Side cultural center.
Preservation Chicago released its list of its seven most endangered buildings in the city and once again, the James R. Thompson Center, which was recently had the “for sale” sign put out by the state is on the “Chicago 7 Most Endangered” buildings list.
Other spaces joining the glass-covered downtown building include a 20-acre area that includes Jackson Park, the South Shore Cultural Center and Midway Plaisance and the Roseland Michigan Avenue Commercial District that has lost several buildings over the decades.
“This year we continue to see the threat to our public resources, which is of great concern, from the potential sale of the James R. Thompson Center, to the loss of 20 acres of Lakefront parklands in Jackson Park, the Midway and the South Shore Cultural Center for the proposed Obama Presidential Center,” said Ward Miller, Preservation Chicago’s Executive Director.
The 17-story James R. Thompson Center opened in 1985 and was designed by Helmut Jahn. Its large open floor plan with curved walls surrounding the interior is home to state government offices, a food court and retail stores.
It’s being sold by the state of Illinois and preservationists worry its unique design will go to dust if a developer wants to level it for a larger, more profitable structure.
Also on the list is a space that includes retail shops, some of which have been demolished over the years, but it still gives a peek into Chicago history.
The Roseland Michigan Avenue Commercial Distritct had lots of retail stores serving far South Side communities.
According to Preservation Chicago, many of the buildings have disappeared over the last 50 years, but the ones still standing need to be saved. One benefit towards revitalization is to capitalize on tourism connect to the Pullman National Monument.
The Union Station Power House in the Art Deco/Art Moderne style on West Taylor also made the list. Amtrak owns the land, but the organization said it is certain that “Amtrak can find a more suitable and less prominent piece of land on which to build a maintenance shed, and we encourage Amtrak to explore alternative uses, like a data center, that keep the Power House intact.”
“We need to prioritize strategies that put preservation first in public policy and practice so the history that ties us to our communities and connects us to place can be protected,” Miller said.
Click here for more information on the Chicago 7 Most Endangered.