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CHICAGO — The state of Illinois has a deal in place to sell the Thompson Center.

Governor JB Pritzker said the state entered exclusive negotiations with the Prime Group in a deal worth $70 million.

Pritzker said the new owners would keep the building intact and develop executive offices, retail, and hotel space. He said they will move forward on a “public-private partnership.” The state of Illinois will maintain about 30% ownership of the building – but the sale would allow the government to take the decades of deferred maintenance – hundreds of millions of dollars – off of the backs of taxpayers.    

“I want to make sure you all understand the magnitude of the savings that we will realize upon the sale of this building,” Pritzker said.

A statement from the governor’s office said the state would save approximately $20 million a year for the next 30 years through operating cost reductions and lease consolidations.

“Today, I’m proud to announce that for the first time, we’re taking a massive step forward with a plan that will result in the sale of the Thompson Center and that will save taxpayers $800 million,” Pritzker said in a statement. “I came into office with a promise to manage state government resources more efficiently and to support local governments. By returning vital real estate in downtown Chicago to private ownership, tens of millions in revenue will be generated for Chicago Public Schools and for property taxpayers. This is a new era of responsible governance for Illinois – one that protects our taxpayers, and fosters the jobs and opportunities that working families deserve.”

Pritzker says selling the building – which should be completed within the next six months – will save taxpayers $800 million. After that, the redevelopment process will take about two years.    

As for the name? Governor Pritzker said he spoke with former Governor James R. Thompson’s family. All involved decided the state would find another appropriate building or monument to name after him.

Designed by renowned architect Helmut Jahn, the Thompson Center opened in 1985.