Skip to contents
Downtown

Google Could Buy Thompson Center, Report Says

It's the latest twist for the famed building, which opened in 1985 and has been used for governmental offices — but which has faced costly infrastructure issues.

The Thompson Center on Dec. 1, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
  • Credibility:

DOWNTOWN — Google is trying to set up shop in one of Chicago’s most famous buildings, according to a new report.

The tech giant is negotiating to buy the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., according to real estate information company CoStar. It’s the latest twist for the famed building, which opened in 1985 and has been used for governmental offices — but which has faced costly infrastructure issues that have led to several lawmakers attempting to sell it.

Google would set up offices throughout the Thompson Center’s 17-story building, according to CoStar.

A representative for Google declined to comment beyond providing an emailed statement.

“Chicago continues to be an important and growing hub for Google here in the Midwest,” according to Google. “What started as a two-person outpost in River North has expanded to a two-building campus that’s home to nearly 2,000 employees in Fulton Market. As Google grows in Chicago, we’ll continue to explore opportunities to ensure our physical space meets the needs of local Googlers.”

It could be a win for fans of the building, which had been facing demolition until Gov. JB Pritzker inked a sale to a private developer for $70 million in March.

Pritzker said the sale would preserve the historic building and save taxpayers $800 million in operating costs, according to CBS.

The new owner, Chicago developer Prime Group, had planned a $300 million renovation that would outfit the building with offices, outdoor terraces and a luxury hotel, according to CoStar. The state planned to eventually buy back parts of the building after Prime Group’s renovation.

It is unclear whether Prime Group hopes to remodel and sell the building to Google or work with the company to design its office space, according to CoStar.

Google has more than 2,000 employees in Chicago and office space at 1KFulton, 1000 W. Fulton St., and 210 N. Carpenter St., according to CoStar. The tech giant has previously said it plans to add thousands more workers to cities across the nation, including Chicago.

The company welcomed its Chicago employees back to in-person work in April.

The Thompson Center was designed by famed postmodern architect Helmut Jahn and opened in 1985 as the State of Illinois Center.

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 

Thanks for subscribing to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods. Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation.

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: