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Rauner-Madigan Rivalry Holding Up Thompson Center Sale Authorization


Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan have been locked in a power struggle that has left the state without a budget for nearly two years, plunged Illinois' bond rating to just above junk status and shows no signs of ending soon. That rivalry is now holding up movement of one of Rauner's pet projects: entertaining bids for a sale of the James R. Thompson Center, Crain's Chicago Business reports.

Madigan sent a letter to Rauner yesterday stating there were outstanding zoning issues that needed to be resolved, should a sale occur. Rauner believes the state could command offers of up to $300M for the Thompson Center, but only if the sale involves massive upzoning for either a new ground-up development on the site or an adaptive reuse that may include a 115-story tower. Madigan's letter argues that Rauner's plan interferes with Chicago's zoning authority for the property.

City sources told Crain's that the Emanuel administration is on board with a possible sale, and that the zoning issues Madigan cited can be resolved after a Rauner-supported bill introduced in January by Illinois Republican Senate leader Christine Radogno authorizing the sale of the Thompson Center is passed.