Gov. J.B. Pritzker revealed today a reboot of plans to save the Thompson Center, announcing that Google will take over the state’s former office hub downtown.
The search engine giant, with 2,000 employees in Chicago, will occupy the entire building. The state, in a deal involving developer Michael Reschke, will sell it to Google for $105 million. Reschke outlined the terms of the deal at a news conference.
In turn, the state will pay $75 million for the 115 S. LaSalle St. building, formerly the BMO Harris Bank building. Reschke, CEO of the firm Prime Group, will manage a renovation of the Thompson Center for Google.
“The state will own 50% more space on LaSalle Street at 50% less cost,” Reschke said.
Pritzker said the deal will save money for state taxpayers, certify Chicago’s appeal to the tech community and revitalize a section of downtown. The new agreement replaces plans announced in December for Reschke to buy most of the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., with the state retaining some space there.
State officials said $30 million from the Thompson Center sale will be in upfront cash. In acquiring 115 S. LaSalle, the state will own the westernmost tower of a three-building complex. The other two buildings use the address of 111 W. Monroe St. and will continue to be owned by a partnership of Reschke and Quintin Primo III, chairman of Capri Investment Group.
The 37-story 115 S. LaSalle building contains almost 592,000 usable square feet, state officials said. They said about 1,800 employees working at the Thompson Center and at leased offices downtown will be moved there. The state already has centralized about 2,000 workers in a building it owns at 555 W. Monroe St.
While the state will be responsible for renovating its new home, officials said the cost will be much less than the $148 million projected as its share of the work needed to modernize the Thompson Center, which opened in 1985 but suffered from the state’s neglect as the building aged.