Museum still waiting for state money to finish new State & Kinzie home
Loop North News

Museum of Broadcast Communications

(Above) Rendering of a building the Museum of Broadcast Communications will own next year at State and Kinzie Streets in River North.

13-Apr-10 – Funding has been approved and capital bonds sold to pay for it, but the Museum of Broadcast Communications is still waiting for $6 million from the State of Illinois to finish its building at State and Kinzie Streets.

Last October, the appropriation was approved by the Illinois General Assembly and went to Governor Pat Quinn, who signed the bill in November. In February 2010, $500 million in bonds were sold to pay for a capital development fund that includes the MBC project.

“All requested state [Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity] paperwork has been returned to Springfield and the MBC is now awaiting the release of the funds,” reports Bruce DuMont, the museum’s founder and president.

DuMont says that within three weeks of getting the money, Pepper Construction will get back to work and finish the building within ten to 12 months. During that time, he points out, Pepper will employ more than 200 union workers and the finished building will be the first museum in Illinois built to “gold” environmentally-friendly LEED standards, the second-highest rating for new construction.

Restaurants gave up waiting

The building will not include two restaurants that signed leases in 2008. In October 2008, it was announced that Tamarind, an Asian fusion restaurant, and the nostalgia-themed Johnny Rockets would move into the building when completed. Each restaurant signed a ten-year lease of the ground floor.

“Both the tenants you mentioned exercised their options to move on from the deal because construction had not begun due to the state’s inability to fund,” DuMont told Marina City Online on Tuesday. “They are both now gone.”

Instead, the first floor and basement of the new building will be sold as a “commercial condo unit” – a retail business would eventually own the property – to an investor DuMont declined to identify. The museum’s agent is CB Richard Ellis, a commercial real estate company based in Los Angeles that is also marketing property at Marina City.

MBC will occupy space facing State Street and will continue fundraising efforts to pay for exhibits. Its address will be 360 North State Street.

According to the museum’s web site, 15,000 square feet will house exhibits devoted to television and radio history. 12,000 square feet will be used for the museum’s public programs, screenings, and lectures.

On the fourth floor will be a special events venue with an outdoor garden terrace facing State Street. The museum will develop the space and an outside hospitality firm will manage it. The space, says DuMont “could be leased to an interested caterer, florist and/or production staging firm.”

Photo by Steven Dahlman

(Above) How State & Kinzie looks now. Click on image to view larger version.

Construction of the building at State & Kinzie stopped in May 2006. The Museum of Broadcast Communications owes Pepper Construction $4.5 million on a $14 million project. In December 2008, the museum’s board of directors voted to sell the half-finished building after waiting three years for the $6 million in funding to show up. No longer for sale now, the site is appraised at $11.2 million but completed and leased, DuMont has said it would be worth $21.8 million.

 Related story: Museum gets $6 million to finish State & Kinzie building

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

Published 13-Apr-10 12:00 AM

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