Pritzker sells Thompson Center for one-third of predicted price

Pritzker sells Thompson Center for one-third of predicted price

Gov. J.B. Pritzker sold the iconic state office building in downtown Chicago to Google for $105 million. He settled for far less than the $300 million sale price state politicians predicted.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker sold the James R. Thompson Center in downtown Chicago July 27 to Google for $105 million, settling on a sale price about one-third of what state politicians once projected the beleaguered property was worth.

Pritzker accepted the tech giant’s terms after five years of fielding bids, selling the long-neglected government building for $30 million in cash and the title to a property worth $75 million at 115 S. LaSalle St.

Google employees will begin moving into the iconic Chicago building after a third-party vendor completes about $325 million in maintenance repairs and renovates the building to maximize energy efficiency. Much of the building is glass and it leaks.

Meanwhile, 2,200 government employees currently working in the Thompson Center will move into the LaSalle Street location after the state pays to renovate that building. Pritzker did not say how much those upgrades would cost.

“Google is one of Chicago’s most important companies,” Pritzker said. “You are an integral part of our community, and you have invested in your future while investing in ours.”

Illinois lawmakers have tried to sell the Thompson Center in the Loop since 2017, routinely using projected revenues from the building’s sale as an accounting gimmick to balance the state budget.

Politicians included between $200 million and $300 million in expected revenue from the Chicago landmark’s sale in the state budget for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The Thompson Center cost Illinois taxpayers roughly $17 million a year in maintenance. Pritzker said this new deal will save residents from shouldering the high price of the building’s long overdue repairs while generating more tax revenue for the Loop.

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