Google parent Alphabet buying massive downtown Chicago building from state of Illinois

Google parent Alphabet has struck a deal to acquire the former State of Illinois Building, called the James R. Thompson Center since 1993, for $105 million. The massive and polarizing postmodernist 17-story structure, designed by the late Chicago-based German architect Helmut Jahn and opened in 1985, risked demolition as energy and upkeep costs undercut its utility as home to state and other government agencies. A deal had reportedly been struck earlier this year to sell the building to property developer JRTC Holdings for some $70 million, with the state retaining partial ownership. Under the Alphabet deal, according to a Block Club Chicago report, the state is to allocate $75 million of the sale proceeds to the purchase of a nearby tower that has been home to BMO Harris Bank , to which state employees are to be relocated. Crain’s Chicago Business reported that JRTC remains a party to the deal, as the direct buyer of the property from the state. The Thompson Center had also been pitched in recent years as home to the first in-town Chicago casino as a wrecking-ball alternative. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the building would be “entirely redeveloped” to serve Google office needs, according to the Block Club report.

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