Chicago City Council has approved an ordinance that will help whomever buys the James R. Thompson Center to turn it into rubble. The ordinance is short. Just three sentences. But it will have a massive impact on downtown Chicago. If you’d like to read it, here it is:
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO: SECTION 1. Title 17 of the Municipal Code. the Chicago; Zoning Ordinance, is hereby amended by changing all the Business Planned Development No. 270 symbols and indications shown on Map 1-F in the area bounded by: West Lake Street, North Clark Street, West Randolph Street, and North LaSalle Street to the designation of the DC-16, Downtown Core District. SECTION 2. This ordinance shall be in force and effect from and after its passage and due publication.
With a stroke of 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly’s pen, and a vote of his peers, the block that currently houses the sometimes-loved, sometimes-hated former state office building can be turned into a skyscraper of a hundred levels or more.
Back in 2017, a drawing started circulating around Springfield showing a 115-story tower rising from this spot. There’s been some chatter in the trees lately that building that tall is the only way to make demolition, remediation, and reconstruction work financially.