Rauner says taxpayers could save up to $12 million annually if the state sells the James R. Thompson Center (JRTC), a downtown Chicago office building that houses state government offices. It’s one of the many reasons the Governor intends to sell the building.
The 16-story building’s infrastructure has been deteriorating over the years and is costly to maintain, due to its very large and open atrium. Rauner estimates there are more than $100 million in repairs that need to be made, and it’s not compelling to make those repairs. The JRTC occupies almost three times the per-square-footage of office space as compared to the rest of downtown Chicago, and double what the rest of the state has for its employees working elsewhere. Such waste and inefficiency is the reason why the Governor wants to put the JRTC up for auction, explaining from a purely financial point of view that this is compelling for the people of the state and allows a developer to make more productive use of the space.
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno said that the building is no longer functional for state government, and the taxpayers need to come first. Selling the Thompson Center will allow the state to explore more options for managing employees in Chicago and the suburbs.
Rauner says the goal is to sell the building in the next year, in which he says a new building could generate $20 million per year for Chicago and create thousands of construction jobs.