For nearly twenty years, the General Service Administration (GSA) has allowed the historic Century and Consumers Buildings on State Street in the heart of Chicago’s Loop to remain vacant and neglected.
Now a $52 million line item for the demolition of the Century and Consumers Buildings has been added to the appropriations bill before Congress.
GSA: Use these federal funds to RESTORE, NOT DEMOLISH these beautiful historic skyscrapers!
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.
Due to post-September 11th fears and the proximity of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, in 2005, the federal government seized ownership of these buildings through its power of eminent domain.
The General Service Administration had plans to renovate and reuse these buildings. But these plans never happened because of a lack of federal funding and security concerns due to the proximity of the federal courthouse.
In 2017, the City of Chicago, developers and Preservation Chicago created a solid plan to beautifully restore and convert these buildings for a residential use, but a federal judge blocked it citing security concerns.
Now there is a new solid plan to save and adaptively reuse these historic buildings with strong stakeholder and financial support.
The Chicago Archive Center reuse is highly-creative solution with many strengths and is very achievable. And this plan addresses all of the security concerns.
Preservation Chicago has been working with urgency over the past two years to building a strong coalition of stakeholders. They are ready to move forward with the adaptive reuse of these buildings.
Chicago’s Early Chicago Skyscrapers are currently being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The demolition of the Century and Consumers Buildings could interfere with this extraordinary opportunity for international recognition.
If demolished, this site would remain a vacant eyesore for years as security concerns would block nearly all new development, like Block 37.
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.
We further encourage Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth to support this effort.
And we encourage the GSA to use these federal funds to RESTORE, NOT DEMOLISH these beautiful historic skyscrapers!