In a widely-anticipated move, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker today announced the fate of the former government office building known as the Thompson Center. He’s going to buy it himself.
In a Zoom news conference, the governor stated, “This is an important day for Illinois. I have forged a unique public-private partnership between myself and myself, relieving the taxpayers of the burden of maintaining this terrible building,”
His plan is to tear down the Thompson Center as soon as state workers finish moving out later this month. In its place, Pritzker will build an Italianate mansion with cypress trees, a croquet lawn, and a block-long pool inspired by the midcentury photography of Slim Aarons.
“It’s an ideal location for my new home. Now I can live right in the middle of The Loop, and be right next to the people I was elected to serve — the businessmen, the politicians, and most importantly, the bankers.”
Renderings of the project indicate that the lawn and pool will require the demolition of the combined Chicago City Hall and Cook County Building. “That’s for the moat,” he enthused. “I’m gonna fill it with crocodiles for those Sun-Times bastards.”
When asked if the sale price of one dollar was a fair deal for Illinois taxpayers, Pritzker started making noises into his cupped hands. “Ssssssssch! I can’t hear you! I think the signal is breaking up! Ssssssssch!” The governor appeared to be unaware that his camera was still on.
For several years, the State of Illinois has had difficulty finding a buyer for the unique, but troubled downtown Chicago office building. The creation of big-name architect Helmut Jahn, workers have long bemoaned the visually distinct structure for its lack of windows, noise, and bad juju.
“We are state employees. We deserve the best. My union told me so,” said rubber stamper Beau Rockacy, taking a smoke break in the shelter of Jean Dubuffet’s sculpture Monument with Standing Beast. “Working in a 30-year-old office building is a violation of my fundamental human rights.”
A spokesman for the governor indicated that because no residents would be displaced, the project can proceed without going through any city zoning approvals.
But Census Bureau records indicate there is at least one person who lives at the Thompson Center. Leroy Brown, the self-described “baddest man in the whole damn town” makes his home on the fringes of the Thompson Center’s subterranean food court, between the Secretary of State’s V.I.P. office and the Burger King. When told of the governor’s plan to move in he said, “Well, there goes the neighborhood.”