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Thursday, May 6, 2010 10:02 pm

State shuffling agency offices

Dropping some leases managed by Cellini-founded firm

The Ridgely Building at 500 E. Monroe St. is at the center of state agency office reshuffling, with some workers moving out and others moving in. PHOTO BY PATRICK YEAGLE

State offices in Springfield are about to do the do-si-do as Illinois shuffles office spaces in an attempt to eliminate costly expired leases.

The leases are negotiated by the state’s Central Management Services agency, which spent almost $41.3 million for real property rental in Fiscal Year 2010. Many of the new leases replace expired “holdover” leases that had been identified as unnecessarily expensive by legislators and Illinois Auditor General William Holland.

Victoria Clemons, executive director of Downtown Springfield, Inc., says the moves will leave part of Springfield’s downtown empty along Adams Street, but she’s hopeful that state employees will still be within a reasonable distance to patronize downtown businesses.

“We are concerned that they won’t be within the tax and government finance district, but they still are within the hub of government and within the historic district,” she says.

Clemons points out that state law requires the state to give preference to historic areas like downtown Springfield when selecting state office spaces.

“While we’d love to see them more in the commercial district, they are not in violation of the law,” she says. “Every time they do these (searches for office space), I’m calling them to make sure they’re following the law. It needs to be in the hub of the city, in a cohesive geographic area.”

View State office moves in a larger map

Before July 1, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will move to 500 E. Monroe St., the Ridgely Building, from its current location at 620 E. Adams St. The current location is managed by Pacific Management of Springfield, formerly New Frontier Management, founded by political insider William F. Cellini of Springfield. Cellini, who is retired from the firm, was indicted in October 2008 on charges of allegedly attempting to defraud the State Teacher’s Retirement System in connection with the case against impeached governor Rod Blagojevich.

The Department of Children and Family Services will move from its current location at 628 E. Adams St. to 726 S. College St. and 208 W. Cook St. (See the included chart below for costs and savings associated with this and other leases)

Additionally, several offices within the Department of Public Health are changing buildings, according to an internal memo to employees. The Office of Finance and Administration will move out of 2875 N. Dirksen Parkway, splitting operations between several locations. The OFA printing services division has already moved to 5000 Industrial Drive, while warehouse operations will move to 2946 Rochester Road by May 12. During Memorial Day weekend, the Division of Vital Records staff will move from 605 W. Jefferson to the Roma Bakery building located at 925 E. Ridgely Ave.

This chart shows locations, costs and savings for state offices currently moving in Springfield. Some costs are still being negotiated, and some offices will not be moving.

The DPH Internet Technology division has already moved to the Department of Natural Resources building at the state fairgrounds, and employees in the Office of Policy Planning & Statistics will move from 605 W. Jefferson St. to 535 W. Jefferson St. by May 24.

IDPH is vacating the Ridgely Building at 500 E. Monroe St., sending the Office of Preparedness and Response to 422 S. Fifth St. and the Division of Health Assessment & Screening to 535 W. Jefferson St., all by June 4.

The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the Department of Insurance, currently at 320 E. Washington St., have sought new office spaces, though DFPR spokeswoman Susan Hoffer says the agencies are staying put for now.

The Office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is also searching for a new location in Springfield to replace its office at 3000 Montvale Drive, and Secretary of State Jesse White is searching for office space in Springfield to house the state’s Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) Program by June 1. 

“The … new office space standards were implemented as an internal policy to more efficiently plan new space acquisitions and utilize existing facilities,” said CMS spokeswoman Alka Nayyar. “The standards are part of our state space utilization plan to reduce our overall footprint in state facilities and to optimize sustainability.”

Nayyar says CMS has reduced its backlog of holdover leases to only three, down from 116 in Fiscal Year 2009. The state has 474 leases total, Nayyar says. 

“There is always more work to be done, but CMS is pleased with the progress we have made specifically in property management,” she says.

Contact Patrick Yeagle at pyeagle@illinoistimes.com.


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