“The Century and Consumers buildings, two vacant downtown skyscrapers that are shamefully rotting away and now targeted for demolition by the federal government, might soon gain a powerful advocate.
“The Commission on Chicago Landmarks has asked the city’s Department of Planning to work on creating a landmark designation report on the early 20th century buildings, located at 202 and 220 S. State St.
“This is key because, traditionally, creation of the reports is almost always a first step toward granting landmark status to a site.
“‘I think there’s a lot of examination that has to be done,’ the commission’s chairman, Ernest Wong, said this month at a hearing on the buildings.
“For a while now, we — along with the town’s leading preservationists — have said the federal government’s plan to wreck the buildings to create a security plaza for the Dirksen Federal Building is a senseless affront to architectural preservation, and also to efforts to make State Street more viable.
“So it’s great to see the commission and the city weigh in. Both are important voices with enough weight to possibly change the outcome for the two buildings.
“The commission requested the preparation of a landmarks designation report after a July 7 meeting on the Century and Consumers buildings.
“In the wake of the [$52 million demolition earmark], one of the leading voices for saving the buildings, Preservation Chicago, proposed turning the structures into a limited-access archives center for religious orders and other organizations.
“‘There hasn’t been a space for robust conversation in the past,’ Ward Miller said. ‘It’s the GSA giving directives.’
“The stance by the landmarks commission, and the Lightfoot administration by proxy, represents a potential turnaround from the city’s position just three years ago.
“But hopefully today is a new day. Would a city landmark designation — on its face — prevent the federal government from razing the buildings?
“Likely not. It could lead to a standoff that ends with the federal government using its power to bigfoot over the city’s wishes.
“Or — and this is what we want to see — landmarking the buildings could bring the judges, the city, the GSA and that $52 million earmark to the table to work out something that leads to these buildings being properly redeveloped.
“That’s what Chicago and downtown really need.” (Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, 7/23/22)
Are the endangered Century and Consumer buildings headed toward landmark status? Let’s hope so. It would be a better fate than the federal government’s plan to demolish the structures for a security plaza, Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, 7/23/22
City landmarks panel backs review of State Street buildings that feds say are security risk; The members act after getting a petition from more than 22,000 people who voiced support for saving the early 20th century structures, setting up a potential show down with the federal government over security concerns for the nearby Dirksen Federal Courthouse, David Roeder, Chicago Sun-Times, 7/7/22
Preservationists seek landmark status for State Street buildings; The Commission on Chicago Landmarks has scheduled a presentation on the buildings today after an advocacy group gathered more than 22,000 signatures supporting its plan to protect them from demolition, Alby Gallun, Crain’s Chicago Business, 7/7/22
Groups coalesce around plan to save State Street buildings; The proposal calls for turning them into a shared archive center, but the properties’ owner, the federal government, wants the early 20th century high-rises wrecked, David Roeder, Chicago Sun-Times, 5/18/22
Explore preservation group’s plan to save two doomed Loop towers; Federal government ought to give a proper hearing to this or any other legit, preservation-minded proposal, Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, 5/19/22
These two endangered downtown buildings look rough outside. The inside is even worse. See photos inside 202 and 220 S. State, a pair of historical towers the federal government wants to spend $52 million demolishing, Dennis Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 5/20/22
Instead Of Demolishing Century And Consumer Buildings, Let Us Turn Them Into A National Archive Center, Preservationists Ask Feds; Preservation groups said the national archive center would meet the security guidelines of the neighboring federal courthouse while serving as a major hub for archive-based research, Melody Mercado, Block Club Chicago, 5/18/22
Preservationist places faith in plan for State Street buildings; A proposal to revive the buildings adjacent to the federal complex is being developed, with hope that it will satisfy concerns about safety, David Roeder, Chicago Sun-Times, 5/9/22
Preservationists push rescue plan for endangered State Street skyscrapers; The feds want to demolish a pair of early 20th-century Loop buildings. But preservation groups say they could be reused instead., Denis Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 5/18/22
A federal case: U.S. government shouldn’t wreck two Loop skyscrapers in the name of safety; The buildings’ demolition would create an economic and pedestrian dead zone on State Street. And it would be a shameful waste of some really good Chicago architecture, Lee Bey, Chicago Sun-Times, 4/3/22
Loop skyscrapers must be demolished to protect safety of Dirksen federal building; I respect the interest in historic preservation. But the Dirksen Courthouse and those who work in it have been targeted before, and security vulnerabilities around the courthouse must be addressed, Sen. Dick Durbin, Chicago Sun-Times, 4/26/22
Century And Consumers Buildings, Beverly’s Pike House Top List Of Most Endangered Historic Places In Illinois; The feds plans to tear down the historic Loop buildings as part of a $52 million demolition. They’ve sat vacant for 17 years. “It’s completely ridiculous,” one Landmarks Illinois preservationist said., Melody Mercado, Block Club Chicago, 4/20/22
What’s that building? The Century and Consumers buildings; The federal government wants to demolish a pair of century-old State Street buildings — a plan preservationists are trying to stop, Dennis Rodkin, WBEZ, 3/31/22