Print this Article
Friday, July 25, 2014 10:12 am

Scrap heap

This week came sad confirmation of my complaint from 2010 that the State of Illinois’ stewardship of its major buildings amounts to slow-motion vandalism. Crain’s columnist Greg Hinz dropped by the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago, and found duct-taped carpet, corroding metal, leaking ceilings. The ex-gov himself calls it a scrap-heap. Concludes Hinz, “If you wanted to pick a metaphor for the sad shape of Illinois and its government, you couldn't do better — really, I should say worse — than to stop by . . . the seat of state government in Illinois' largest city.”

Forget its looks. The building was ill-conceived, its design being badly matched to its purpose. It was poorly outfitted as well; it has cost the state uncounted millions more in energy costs and HVAC retrofits than it saved by installing cheap windows. Rehabilitate it and you still have a bad building. (That was not the case with the Stratton in Springfield. Replace the cheap fittings and you would have had a perfectly useful office building, which can never be the case with the Thompson.)

If the building has resale potential, it should be sold, although I expect developers would want it only for the land. (Its lack of usable interior space makes it as unfit for a hotel as for an office building.) Take the money and rehab any of the dozens of Loop towers being rendered redundant by the latest boom in Class A office space. Destroying a  bad building to keep a good one standing is the best conclusion of a bad business.
Log in to use your Facebook account with

Login With Facebook Account

Recent Activity on IllinoisTimes


  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat
  • Sun
  • Mon
Get "IT" in your inbox
 Illinois Times was gratified by the number of entires that we received for the Visitors Guide Cover Art Contest. We would like to thank all of the 56 participants who submitted entries. Your eff...