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Thompson Center Tops Landmarks Illinois' New List Of State's Most Endangered Places

James R. Thompson Center at 100 West Randolph

Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed Senate Bill 866, which establishes a two-year process to secure a buyer for the James R. Thompson Center at 100 West Randolph, and that landed the 17-story glass structure at the top of Landmarks Illinois' 2019 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois.

The law does not require a buyer to preserve the Helmut Jahn-designed structure, which also landed on the most endangered list of Preservation Chicago, another advocacy group.

Landmarks Illinois named 12 historically, architecturally and culturally significant sites throughout the state to its annual list, including six in the Chicago metro area. 

“A troubling trend with this year’s most endangered sites is the number of historic places that face demolition despite strong and active community support for preservation,” Landmarks Illinois President and CEO Bonnie McDonald said. “People all over Illinois are working to save special places that help tell the unique stories and history of their neighborhoods despite the many challenges that stand in their way.”

In addition to the Thompson Center, the group named the Sheffield National Register Historic District in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, home to much of the city’s late-19th century architecture. The district's listing on the National Register of Historic Places does not protect against demolition of its architecturally significant buildings, and Landmark Illinois said an increasing number of them are being torn down by new owners and developers. 

Also included was the Washington Park National Bank, a five-story limestone building built in 1924 at the corner of Cottage Grove and 63rd Street. The current owner, the Cook County Land Bank Authority, recently selected Chicago-based developer DL3 Realty to redevelop the property. DL3 plans to demolish the structure in favor of a multistory mixed-use complex. 

Other Chicago-area properties considered most endangered were: Booth Cottage, a Glencoe home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, built in 1913 and currently for sale; Hoover Estate, also in Glencoe, built in 1925 and designed by architect William Furst; and Hill Motor Sales Building in Oak Park, a former Packard showroom.