SAVE the Century & Consumers Buildings! STOP the $52M Demolition!

SAVE the Century & Consumers Buildings! STOP the $52M Demolition!

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Preservation Chicago, NFP: Love your City Fiercely! started this petition to US Congress and

Photo credit: Travis Root

Restoration or Wrecking Ball?

Chicago’s Early Chicago Skyscrapers are currently being considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But the possible demolition of the Century and Consumers Buildings would jeopardize this extraordinary designation and international recognition. 

And just as the historic buildings were on the verge of being beautifully restored, the Feds earmarked $52 million taxpayers dollars to demolish these two outstanding Early Chicago Skyscrapers and replace them with...a permanent fenced security zone with perimeter landscaping, which will become a permanent void in State Street's historic streetwall.

Their claim is that the demolition is required because there is no plan for reuse and that the rear windows endanger the adjacent courthouse security.

But there IS an adaptive reuse plan that addresses the security concerns. It's brilliant, creative, and its stakeholders are highly motivated to move forward.

After two years of planning, the Chicago Collaborative Archives Center's adaptive reuse plan has motivated leadership, support from nearly 20 archives, and interest from financial strong institutions. Detailed plans and architectural drawings were presented at the widely covered press conference on May 18, 2022.

Most importantly, this creative and innovative adaptive reuse plan was specifically designed to meet known security related issues, including bricking up rear windows and limiting access to upper floors. 

Landmark or Landfill?

So after being vacant and mothballed for nearly twenty years, the fate of the historic Century and Consumers Buildings is about to be determined. 

These proud and elegant Chicago School skyscrapers are located on State Street in the vibrant and thriving heart of Chicago’s Loop. The 16-story Century Building was built in 1915 and designed by Holabird and Roche. The 22-story Consumers Building was built in 1913 and designed by Jenney, Mundie & Jensen. Both are on listed on the National Register for Historic Places.

In 2005, the Federal Government took ownership of these buildings through its power of eminent domain with plans to renovate and reuse these buildings. But due to the lack of federal funding, the renovation never happened.

All will be lost if the $52 million dollars of federal funds are used to demolish the Century and Consumers Buildings.

Please sign the petition to Save the Century & Consumers Buildings.

1. We encourage the Illinois Delegation in Washington D.C. including Senator Dick Durbin (202-224-2152), Senator Tammy Duckworth (202-224-2854), and Congressman Danny Davis (202-225-5006) to take urgent action to support this effort.

2. We encourage the City of Chicago to take immediate steps to designate the Century and Consumers Buildings as Chicago Landmarks which would protect them from demolition.

Read more about the threats to the Century & Consumers Buildings at:

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

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

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

The Two Towers, A bizarre federal quest to destroy a pair of historic Chicago skyscrapers, Henry Grabar, Slate, 5/11/22

Why have feds spent millions on vacant Chicago buildings they now want to demolish? Ben Bradley, WGN Chicago, 4/6/22

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

Flashback: Chicago remains a ‘city of skyscrapers,’ but two early examples may be nearing a date with the wrecking ball, Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune, 4/14/22

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

Wrecking the Century & Consumers buildings is ‘Durbin Renewal,’ not urban safety, Elizabeth Blasius, Chicago Tribune Op-Ed, 4/29/22

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

Preservation Chicago 2022 Chicago 7 Most Endangered: The Century and Consumers Buildings

Landmarks Illinois 2022 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois, Century & Consumers Buildings, 4/20/22

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At 25,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on!