The state’s efforts to sell Chicago’s Thompson Center has become one of the city’s most convoluted real estate issues, but as of this week, it’s looking like the possibility of a Thompson Center sale has become much more real. The Illinois House of Representatives has just advanced a measure that would allow Governor Bruce Rauner to sell the aging structure, but the governor apparently isn’t satisfied and is seeking the ability to influence a zoning change of the property, the Tribune reports.
The ability for Governor Rauner to dictate and influence a zoning change within the City of Chicago is an overstep, Democrats suggest. Rauner’s desire to influence zoning is a major variable in the ultimate sale price of the structure, which the governor’s office has previously suggested to be somewhere in the $300 million range. Without a major zoning bump, it’s likely that the sale of the property would fetch a much lower price.
However, earlier this month, Mayor Rahm Emanuel vowed to block the sale unless there was a plan to redevelop and reconstruct the busy Clark/Lake CTA station which runs through the state-owned Thompson Center. Specifically, the mayor warned state lawmakers that he did not want the eventual reconstruction of the station to fall on city taxpayers.
The bill to authorize the sale of the Thompson Center passed the Illinois House this week 67 to 48. According to the Tribune, all of the “no” votes came from state Republicans.