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Helmut Jahn Proposes Addition To Thompson Center


The Thompson Center has no more vocal supporter than its designer, Helmut Jahn. The starchitect believes the building has some life left in it and is once again speaking out against an attempt by Illinois Republicans to sell the building.

Last Friday, Jahn proposed a 110-story addition to the Thompson Center at the southwest corner of Randolph and LaSalle, Crain's reports. Jahn made his proposal public a day after the Illinois Legislature's top Republicans, Sen. Christine Radogno and Rep. Jim Durkin, introduced legislation allowing the state to sell the building. That plan came with renderings from Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill showing a variety of uses for the site, including a 1,700-foot-tall skyscraper.

Gov. Bruce Rauner first proposed selling the Thompson Center in late 2015 and said $100M in deferred maintenance made the building too costly to maintain. Most experts agree that the 1.2M SF postmodern building isn't properly utilized, but are divided as to whether it should be sold and demolished, or repurposed. But the chances of this bill reaching Rauner's desk are slim, as Rauner and the state's leading Democrats have been locked in a battle where the state hasn't passed a budget in nearly two years. Even if there was agreement across party lines it's unlikely either the Smith + Gill or Jahn supertall proposals would become reality, given the costs of razing and construction. [Crain's]