Thompson Center zoning change would make site easier to sell, says alderman
Loop North News

(Above) A rally in front of James R. Thompson Center on July 9, 2010.

28-Mar-21 – Changing the zoning classification of the block on which James R. Thompson Center is located will make the site easier to sell, according to 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly.

Reilly has introduced an ordinance to rezone the Thompson Center site from PD-270 to DC-16. That would ease restrictions on any new building constructed on the site. For example, the setback, or distance from the building to the street, could be any length. Any development proposal would still have to be approved by the Chicago City Council.

Photo by Sarah Matheson

“It’s one of the premier blocks in the entire city of Chicago and the potential for a two-million-square-foot tower on this site would have a dramatic impact on Chicago’s skyline,” wrote Reilly (left) to constituents on Friday. “It could potentially add a lot more energy and activity to the Loop, at a site that has been underutilized for government functions.”

Reilly says when the previous 42nd Ward Alderman, Burton Natarus, classified the site’s zoning in 1981, while the Thompson Center was being built, it significantly limited what changes developers could make to the property. He says even the Thompson Center is non-compliant with its zoning.

A new skyscraper on the Thompson Center site, says Reilly, could generate $20-25 million in property tax revenue each year. Because it is owned by the State of Illinois, the Thompson Center currently generates no property tax revenue.

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

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