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Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019 12:05 am

TREASURER ON THE MOVE?

Imagine you’re state treasurer. Imagine, further, that you’re doing business in the downtown Myers Building and a place on West Monroe Street that both look, well, perhaps not on par with an office that’s responsible for overseeing monies and investments held by the fifth largest state in the nation. Wouldn’t you want nicer digs, a place that says, “Hey – I matter?” That, perhaps, might explain why word has been floating that state Treasurer Michael Frerichs is chasing Chase, the bank that owns a Taj Mahal of a financial palace on Sixth Street that’s grown to look fairly empty with the advent of online banking. The massive downtown structure reminiscent of something built by the Roman Empire would be, we think, exactly the sort of place a state treasurer might covet. Under a House bill introduced a couple weeks ago, the treasurer would be authorized to buy real estate in downtown Springfield. Neither a price tag nor a location is specified in the bill. Greg Rivara, spokesman for the treasurer, confirms that yes, the office is contemplating a purchase, and he notes that leases for the treasurer’s two Springfield locations, not counting the Capitol, expire in June. Beyond that, he won’t confirm or deny that the treasurer is interested in the Chase building. “When we get into the confirm-or-deny part, invariably, it leads people to believe that is the property,” Rivara says. “That would undermine our negotiating position.” Last year, Frerichs complained when then Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a last-minute measure – it surfaced two days before the General Assembly adjourned – that would have allowed the treasurer to buy a building at 300 W. Jefferson St. for $2.7 million with money from the state’s unclaimed property fund. Frerichs then said that owning is cheaper than leasing.

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