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What's The Deal With 202 South State Street?

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Got a question about what's brewing in Chicago? Like to know a little more about a piece of your city? Shoot your inquiries to the Ask Curbed Chicago Inbox and we'll try to help out.

A curious passerby wrote Curbed wanting to know more about the tower at 202 S State:

I pass the building at the southwest corner of state and adams all the time and wonder why [it's vacant] and what is its history. Why that's Holabird & Roche's Century Building, one of the fairest of Chicago School skyscrapers. Chicago Architecture Info and other sources list its completion in 1915 as a slender, steel-framed, terra cotta-adorned 16-story office building. Anyone who has moseyed on by in the past decade would notice its striking lack of occupancy. Digging a bit deeper into that situation, it's pretty clear the Federal Government's inaction is at least partly to blame for the long abandonment. In the General Service Administration's (GSA) eight-year reign over the Century Building and neighboring Consumer Building (220 State), the structures have continued to erode. Archicritic Lynn Becker goes so far as to call the Century "the dead rotting fish stinking up State Street". At least the street-level scaffolding and windows have been gussied up for displays.

The Century's plight not only awoke critics but also preservationists. The building made a 2011 appearance on Preservation Chicago's Chicago Seven list of most endangered structures, along with its companion the Consumer. Vague plans entertained by the GSA from 2005-06 included total or partial demolition of their State Street holdings to clear the way for new glass office towers. That wave has seemingly passed, but the next move is uncertain. Clearly, its loss would be felt.
·Holabird & Roche's Century Building [Design Slinger]
·Uncle Sam - State Street Slumlord? [Lynn Becker]
·2011 Chicago Seven [Preservation Chicago]
·202 South State Street - Architectural Description [GSA]