Save the Century & Consumers Buildings!
Stop the $52M Demolition for a Gravel Lot!
Chicago’s Early Chicago Skyscrapers are currently being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Yet, the Feds just earmarked $52 MILLION taxpayers dollars to DEMOLISH two outstanding Early Chicago Skyscrapers and replace them with…a permanent gravel lot!
And just as the historic buildings are on the verge of being beautifully restored!
After two years of planning, the Chicago Collaborative Archives Center adaptive reuse plan has strong support from dozens of archives from across the nation and is ready to go.
Unlike the rejected 2018 residential adaptive reuse plan which raised security concerns for the adjacent courthouse, the new reuse plan was specifically designed to meet or exceed security related issues, including bricked up rear windows and limited access to upper floors.
Landmark or Landfill?
So after being vacant and mothballed for over twenty years, the fate of the historic Century and Consumers Buildings is about to be determined.
After twenty years of advocacy, it all comes down to two little words that will determine the fate of these historic skyscrapers.
Adding “or renovation” to the bill currently before Congress is all that is needed to allow the restoration plan to move forward.
These proud and elegant Chicago School skyscrapers are located on State Street in the vibrant and thriving heart of Chicago’s Loop. The 16-story Century Building was built in 1915 and designed by Holabird and Roche. The 22-story Consumers Building was built in 1913 and designed by Jenney, Mundie & Jensen. Both are on listed on the National Register for Historic Places.
In 2005, the Federal Government took ownership of these buildings through its power of eminent domain with plans to renovate and reuse these buildings. But due to the lack of federal funding, the renovation never happened.
The Chicago Collaborative Archive Center has created a solid plan to save and adaptively reuse these historic buildings with strong stakeholder and financial support.
Previous reuse proposals have been blocked for security concerns, but the current Archive Center plan was specifically designed to address all security issues and requires all rear windows facing the courthouse to be bricked up.
But all will be lost if the $52 million dollars of federal funds are used to demolish the Century and Consumers Buildings and replace them with a permanent gravel lot.
1. We encourage Congress to add “or renovation” to the appropriations bill currently moving through Congress and Save the Century & Consumers Buildings!
2. We encourage the Illinois Delegation in Washington D.C. including Senator Dick Durbin (202-224-2152), Senator Tammy Duckworth (202-224-2854), and Congressman Danny Davis (202-225-5006) to take urgent action to support this effort.
3. We encourage the City of Chicago to take immediate steps to designate the Century and Consumers Buildings as Chicago Landmarks which would protect them from demolition.
Read more about the threats to the Century & Consumers Buildings at:
Preservationist places faith in plan for State Street buildings; A proposal to revive the buildings adjacent to the federal complex is being developed, with hope that it will satisfy concerns about safety, David Roeder, Chicago Sun-Times, 5/9/22
A federal case: U.S. government shouldn’t wreck two Loop skyscrapers in the name of safety; The buildings’ demolition would create an economic and pedestrian dead zone on State Street. And it would be a shameful waste of some really good Chicago architecture, Lee Bey, Chicago Sun-Times, 4/3/22
Loop skyscrapers must be demolished to protect safety of Dirksen federal building; I respect the interest in historic preservation. But the Dirksen Courthouse and those who work in it have been targeted before, and security vulnerabilities around the courthouse must be addressed, Sen. Dick Durbin, Chicago Sun-Times, 4/26/22
Century And Consumers Buildings, Beverly’s Pike House Top List Of Most Endangered Historic Places In Illinois; The feds plans to tear down the historic Loop buildings as part of a $52 million demolition. They’ve sat vacant for 17 years. “It’s completely ridiculous,” one Landmarks Illinois preservationist said., Melody Mercado, Block Club Chicago, 4/20/22
What’s that building? The Century and Consumers buildings; The federal government wants to demolish a pair of century-old State Street buildings — a plan preservationists are trying to stop, Dennis Rodkin, WBEZ, 3/31/22